Electronic Arts is laying off staffers at its Montreal office in another round of job cuts. The news comes less than two weeks after CEO John Riccitiello resigned, citing the company’s financial underperformance.
EA declined to tell Reuters how many jobs are being affected, but Joystiq reports that the layoffs will affect about 170 employees, out of a total of 300 employed at the studio. The Redwood City, California-based company said in a statement that the Montreal game studio is not closing and that”EA is sharpening its focus to provide games for new platforms and mobile. In some cases, this involves reducing team sizes as we evolve into a more efficient organization.”
EA has been restructuring its business to take advantage of new gaming platforms. Last year its PopCap unit laid off about 50 people in its North American office, after a year of hiring aggressively. At the time, PopCap cofounder John Vechey said the job cuts were part of a plan to focus more on free-to-play and mobile games, and denied speculation that EA was beyond the layoffs. (PopCap was acquired by EA for about $1.3 billion in 2011).
Despite those moves, EA, along with other game makers, has continued to struggle in the face of competition from free games offered on social networking or mobile platforms. When Riccitiello left the company last month, he cited its struggling financial performance: “My decision to leave EA is really all about my accountability for the shortcomings in our financial results this year. It currently looks like we will come in at the low end of, or slightly below, the financial guidance we issued to the Street, and we have fallen short of the internal operating plan we set one year ago. And for that, I am 100 percent accountable.” The company also recently earned the dubious distinction of a “Golden Poo,” awarded by Consumerist readers to the “Worst Company in America,” thanks to its botched SimCity release.