EA Going Through More Layoffs (Update, Mythic Losing Another)
Akalaupdate: Tim Chappell, Mythic’s main community rep, was laid off.
Here is the message he left at Stratics:
I am very sorry to say that I was informed that my position was no longer needed. Though I had many titles I was handling for Mythic, I grew to love and appreciate all the communities and only wish I could have had more time or resources to get more involved with them. Though I had only been in the position for a little over a year, I will miss a great many of you and hope that you keep in touch.
Mythic MMO’s will always have a strong place in my heart. Over the past 5 years I got to work with everyone of them and couldn’t have been happier with my co-workers, customers or communities. I hope that some of you will stay in contact. I will visit the boards on occasion to remember all the fun I had and all those great personalities that make up Mythic’s community base.
I don’t have any current plans as I am occupied with taking care of family as my father is in the midst of a nightmarish battle with cancer. (If I missed your e-mails over the past couple weeks; this is why and I will get to them soon.) However, I do have a couple mobile projects and art projects in the works that I am very excited to finish. Until then, you may see me in games on occasion. Though I have been busy of late, I usually play SWTOR and L4D, so if you play and see a Dropixel named character in some form, be sure and say hi.
Take care and remember don’t swim against the tide. It will just leave you tired and frustrated.
Original Post: Or rather, EA is finally announcing that they have been going through layoffs, or an “Organizational Update” as they call it:
In recent weeks, EA has aligned all elements of its organizational structure behind priorities in new technologies and mobile. This has led to some difficult decisions to reduce the workforce in some locations. We are extremely grateful for the contributions made by each of our employees – those that are leaving EA will be missed by their colleagues and friends.
These are hard but essential changes as we focus on delivering great games and showing players around the world why to spend their time with us.
Let’s cut to the chase, has Mythic been affected? Yes.
Ultima Online had its lead designer laid off.
Today was my last day at Mythic. For the past three and a half years or so, I’ve had the great fortune to come to a job with a team of wonderful people, always working to improve on what is still one of the best damn MMOs ever built. We truly are a different breed, always having to deal with flak coming from all directions, but always loving our jobs even though the job is like a bucking bronco and we’re just along for the crazy, crazy ride.
Unfortunately, harsh economic realities and the nature of the video games business mean layoffs happen.
The UO Producer did go on to lay out a roadmap for the rest of the year and into 2014.
It is with heavy heart I report I am leaving Mythic Entertainment. I have worked with Mythic since 2007, and it quickly became my family.
My heart breaks to walk away from WAR, and from my family at Mythic… But the time to go, and explore new growth and new career possibilities, has come…
No word on Ultima Forever or Dark Age of Camelot, and DAOC is hard to gauge since its community relations and community are in such poor shape – UO and WAR have close-knit and very public communities.
Kotaku says they are hearing up to 10% were laid off, which means up to 900 people (out of 9,000 or so, give or take). Gamasutra reports that it may not be as high as 10%, but it’s still significant. Let’s try to lay things out to get the bigger picture:
Mythic was impacted (as mentioned above), with UO losing their lead designer, and WAR losing their lead developer, although it should be noted that he appeared to step down voluntarily.
Game Informer is mentioning that EA has closed their EA Partners program, which saw them publishing games from developers such as Valve, 38 Studios/Big Huge Games, Crytek (Crysis anyone?), EPIC, and others.
Apparently EA has closed PopCap Vancouver and Quicklime Games.
And not even two weeks ago, EA closed down Playfish for the most part, a company/studio they spent $300 million acquiring not even four years ago. This includes the Sims Social and SimCity Social Facebook games and SimCity players are Pissed Off, to say the least.
Kotaku claims to have a memo sent out to employees. Major actions include Origin moving under Frank Gibeau (under EA Labels). There is a new head of Origin.com. They mentioned that they looked at every area of EA, and that the layoffs that have occurred/been communicated are the majority of their “planned personnel actions” as they put it.
In theory, if UO, WAR, DAOC, and Ultima Forever are still alive right now, they should be safe for the time being, just operating in a very reduced state. EA does seem to drop the hammer on major layoffs around this time every year since it’s the start of the fiscal year. Last year around this time, BioWare went through a round of layoffs.