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February 3, 2006


Filed under: Thoughts and Rants — Tom B @ 9:25 am

So, good old EA has cut its workforce by 5%. Earnings are down and what’s a responsible manager to do? Cut executive salaries and bonuses…not likely! But then, that is the way of big business. I found it interesting to note that on the quarterly conference call yesterday that the opening of a China studio is in play. So, is this EA following up on their threat to move jobs off shore because of some of the class action employee suits filed against them in California…possible. But any major publisher/developer who is not looking as China as both a production base and market, especially for wireless games, is already missing the boat. Though I suspect that the location of the layoffs may have been influenced by the law suits and the more employee biased laws in California when compared to other area of the country like Texas and Florida. But we’ll probably never know for sure.

I guess they had to do something…after all they were already targeted with a class action shareholder law suit. And EA profits were down 31% so they clearly missed their projected profits for the last quarter of 2005. As they say - shit runs downhill…sad, but true. But the next time we hear an EA executive claim that their employee practices are based on the culture of the game development industry as a whole, it should be taken with a grain of salt. EA is not a typical developer that can say that sort of thing any more. EA is a solid member of the publicly traded corporate structure and they was they treat their employees has nothing to to with the industry culture, only their own.

As for the individuals who are laid off…I wish them well and urge them to consider gathering what resources and entrepreneurial courage they have and consider taking a shot. Digital distribtuon and the growing market for small games and casual games. Not the great opus one has in mind, but a great way to get started. Also the application of game based technologies and techniques outside of the entertainment sector fo advertising, corporate training, education and simulation. Not as glamorous, but a solid way to build a studio. Remember, you have to build a great studio before you can build a great game!

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