Publishers continue to cut costs by firing developer companies' staff as EA decided to go for mass layoffs in their Australian studio situated in Melbourne. This comes fresh on the wings of Activision Blizzard and NCSoft layoff rounds.
EA are the latest publisher in line that decided to fire a bunch of people at ground level, in order to cut costs, as they decided to slash the workforce in their Australia-based mobile game developer studio. It came to be back in 2012 when EA merged IronMonkey Studios and Firemint and it constitutes one of the biggest development houses in Australia.
According to Kotaku Australia, executives flew from overseas to wrap up the restructuring. Those who were let go were informed on an individual basis, while those who remained were informed as a group. One anonymous employee stated that the current situation in the studio is so grim that there are rumours of the whole studio shutting down eventually.
Firemonkeys' staff was estimated to be around 200 employees, out of which 100 were reportedly affected initially, but this number was later amended to 40 to 50 employees. In other words, it is no longer 50 per cent of the staff that was let go, but "only" about 25 per cent.
Publishers are flooding the market with these rounds of layoffs but it doesn't seem to bother them so far. What seems to be their primary concern is the illusion they are creating for shareholders - that the unstable growth that began with aggressive monetisation could be upheld.
Many people predicted AAA gaming industry would crash due to gamers finally waking up to the predatory practices, but publishers kept pushing on, culminating in a massive stock crash. Growth stopped, investors became worried and the next logical step seems to have been to cut costs by laying off the people who actually make the games.
It was executives who were calling the shots that led the companies to this point but we are not seeing news of any of them slashing their massive salaries just yet. Sadly, it is the ground level employees who are being let go to make the bottom line look prettier.
Considering EA managed to string failures that started with Battlefront II, continued with Battlefield V and Anthem, it is quite possible that the Australian studio suffered indirectly from unsuccessful workings from the rest of the company.