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Electronic Arts Slashes Workforce

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the survival-of-the-fittest dept.

Businesses 188

Dawn Kawamoto writes "Electronic Arts has been slashing jobs in recent weeks and according to Kotaku the size of the layoffs has reached as much as 10 percent of its workforce. The game maker says it's making the move to align its workforce closer to mobile and new technologies. For the console dinosaur that's trying to fight extinction by evolving into a bigger mobile player, this process has been a painful transition with a number of employees ending up in the tar pit - as well as its CEO."

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EA is burning (5, Informative)

Moheeheeko (1682914) | about a year ago | (#43551059)

Let me go get my Marshmallows. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

Re:EA is burning (5, Funny)

gmhowell (26755) | about a year ago | (#43551071)

Let me go get my Marshmallows. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

You may not want to eat anything cooked over flaming toxic waste.

Re:EA is burning (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#43551107)

Let me go get my Marshmallows. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

You may not want to eat anything cooked over flaming toxic waste.

Eh, don't worry so much. Do you really think that EA would resort to firing their supply of awful people before they run out of alternatives?

Re:EA is burning (5, Funny)

Arith (708986) | about a year ago | (#43551173)

Let me go get my Marshmallows. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

You may not want to eat anything cooked over flaming toxic waste.

Toxic marshmallows give superpowers

Re:EA is burning (4, Funny)

Moheeheeko (1682914) | about a year ago | (#43551189)

Let me go get my Marshmallows. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

You may not want to eat anything cooked over flaming toxic waste.

Toxic marshmallows give superpowers

"And Meltman, with the power to...melt!"

Re:EA is burning (4, Funny)

sunwukong (412560) | about a year ago | (#43552629)

Quick, license that IP and put it on Origin!

EA (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43551147)

It's in the BBQ

Re:EA is burning (1)

Hentes (2461350) | about a year ago | (#43551185)

Capitalism at work.

Re:EA is burning (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43551501)

Capitalism at work.

Indeed. It beats the company completely going out of business, and everyone is out of work. Sometimes it takes cutting to gain more in the end.

Re:EA is burning (5, Insightful)

hairyfeet (841228) | about a year ago | (#43551939)

I want everybody to take a good look at this because this just proves what some of us have been saying all along, which is voting with your dollars works it just isn't magic and when you are talking about a large corp with a huge bank account it takes time to work.

I mean look at how well it has worked with consumer friendly gaming companies VS consumer unfriendly gaming companies, Valve treats customers well, has doubled their profits for 7 years in a row, EA treats customers like shit? Laying off workers after the CEO bailed rather than be fired, Ubisoft who used to practically give bonuses to those in the company who could come up with a nastier way to treat customers? Removed their DRM from their current titles and from what i understand is putting out patches that remove it from previous titles, and of course Activision which is "restructuring" which is a nice way of saying "trying to stop the bleeding".

So voting with your dollars DOES WORK, it is just like any real solution isn't a magic wand one can wave to make things change instantly. As I pointed out to those that poo pooed the idea "At least i'm not paying for the right to be treated like shit" and by refusing to give those that treat me as dirt money I know I'm doing my little part in making sure they don't get rewarded for being assholes while at the same time having plenty of truly great games to play. its not like there aren't plenty of companies out there that won't be happy to treat you as a valued customer, when the stink about Diablo 3 being always online so they could nickel and dime you with money markets hit I spread the word about how Runic games was even allowing modding in Torchlight II and had a lot of folks tell me how much they loved the game. BTW if anybody doesn't have it yet? Great game and to celebrate adding Steam workshop support they gave us the Half Life headcrab as one of the pet choices. of course i had to name mine Lamar, just wouldn't be right otherwise LOL.

If a company insists on treating you like shit? Don't buy from that company and be quick to point out alternatives to anybody who is thinking of buying it. As we can plainly see here it does work, it simply takes time to hurt a huge corp like EA.

Re:EA is burning (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43552083)

Steam is still DRM. The fact that some people who claim to oppose DRM support Steam is rather hypocritical.

Re:EA is burning (5, Informative)

sdreader (2893571) | about a year ago | (#43552403)

There are some games sold on Steam with zero DRM and can run completely independently of the client, but the number of DRM-free games vastly pale in comparison to the total number in Steam's catalogue. Plus you won't know it's DRM free unless you buy it, or someone's found out and posted the info somewhere, since this fact isn't displayed anywhere on the game's respective Store page.

I'm only pointing this out before someone else argues that Steam does have DRM-free games. Yeah it does, but it's hard enough to know what they are and since it's not common enough, it's just easier to assume they all do. And for this reason I don't use Steam... but that makes me something of a weird outsider with PC gaming, which I'm happy with.

Re:EA is burning (1)

Cederic (9623) | about a year ago | (#43553321)

Steam's DRM is far less obtrusive than the DRM used on games I bought in 1986. In 1987. In 1988...1991...1995...2001...2008

Then I started using Steam.

Re:EA is burning (2)

sdreader (2893571) | about a year ago | (#43553501)

You're probably confusing DRM with copy-protection. There's a difference. The difference being that DRM can end up revoking or blocking access to the content you paid for, whereas copy-protection in said years would have basically ammounted to a serial code, or a code wheel, or checking the CD during startup (*). All of which CANNOT BE TAKEN FROM YOU KATE unless through physical means, which ain't gonna happen. But if Valve goes kaput, or Steam's offline mode fails during an extended net outage or whatever, you can't play what you bought. But you can with copy protection in the forms which were present in your listed years. That's the difference.

(*) I'll give you that CD checking was stupid, as you have to ensure the disc was still in good condition which would never happen over time, plus drives would often misread and fail to pass the check, and making backups of the disc would often fail since the deliberate errors introduced to authenticate a legitimate disc wouldn't be transferred. But Internet-based checking to me is not a good alternative.

Re:EA is burning (2)

sdreader (2893571) | about a year ago | (#43553511)

I should also add that I'm writing this while being rather tired, and I have no idea who Kate is. :)

Re:EA is burning (1)

Cederic (9623) | about a year ago | (#43553939)

Fair point regarding DRM vs Copy Protection. I take solace in my ability to strip the DRM from Steam games if they ever withdraw the service, and/or take them to court for restitution.

Of course, the copy protection often led to loss of access - losing the code wheel or the casette inlay, installing software the game manufacturer's rootkit wouldn't work with, etc.

I will concede though that I too have no idea who Kate is.

Re:EA is burning (1)

sdreader (2893571) | about a year ago | (#43554235)

Aye, given Steam has been out for long enough it doesn't halt the creation of cracks one bit (crack one Steam game, you've cracked them all). Though I doubt there are cracks for Steam games on Linux yet. If that ever happens, you KNOW the year of the Linux desktop has arrived. :)

Re:EA is burning (2)

hairyfeet (841228) | about a year ago | (#43554089)

What you are doing is no different than the bullshit the GPL guys use to make BSD sound evil, you are throwing out doom scenarios which I can say in the future RMS and Torvalds will eat babies and what do ya know? just as accurate or useful.

Can you name ONE PERSON, just one, that had their games taken away that WERE NOT being giant fucking douchebags and ruining the game for everyone else? because i sure as hell can't, the only ones I've EVER heard of get banhammered from Steam were the cocksuckers using wallhacks and aimbots that frankly just destroy MP for everybody else. those people would have been banned with a retail disc just as quickly if a company gave a shit about its MP because the surest way to kill a game is to do nothing about cheaters.

but bitching about what Steam could or could not do in the future is NO different than me saying RMS will burn babies in the future, in both cases we have absolutely zero evidence to back this up and are pulling shit out of our rear ends.

Re:EA is burning (1)

sdreader (2893571) | about a year ago | (#43554221)

RMS is a fucking dickhead. I don't care about those GPL-obsessed idiots - I'm just looking out for long term protection of the content I buy. Valve are nice nowadays, but who's to day they won't become greedy and act like dicks (EA) in the future? If I can buy games DRM-free, I can walk away from a vendor if I choose not to want to have anything more to do with them, and can still keep the games. Right now, that's not possible short of cracks.

Please hairfeet, I like you. I know you're going on the attack because you've had to deal with dickheads for years on Slashdot, so believe me when I say I'm not trying to be obsessive or zealotry. I sincerely believe DRM is not necessary in this day and age, and I don't see how wanted to stay far away from it is such a crazy notion. But I won't get angry with anyone for wanting to use Steam. It's a great platform, minus the DRM of course.

Re:EA is burning (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about a year ago | (#43553719)

There are some games sold on Steam with zero DRM and can run completely independently of the client, but the number of DRM-free games vastly pale in comparison to the total number in Steam's catalogue. Plus you won't know it's DRM free unless you buy it, or someone's found out and posted the info somewhere, since this fact isn't displayed anywhere on the game's respective Store page.

And even if you get a game without DRM from Steam, you don't get it with a nice installer package which you can archive and own forever. Like you do with games from GOG.

Re:EA is burning (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43553909)

Just shove it in a ZIP file. Installers generally do no magic beyond making a shortcut, and then shoving everything into a predetermined directory. Registry keys were more prevalent 10+ years ago, but are unused these days.

Re:EA is burning (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43554249)

Just pirate the fucking games already and stop whining about Steam. Shit it's way I do, plus I don't end up missing out on AAA titles. Thanks RELOADED!

Re:EA is burning (4, Insightful)

darkfeline (1890882) | about a year ago | (#43552495)

I think those people really just oppose bullshit DRM. Steam DRM is very tame and reasonable, and I think most people don't really have anything against DRM as a concept that help protect game devs a little from possible lost profits; it's the bullshit DRM that get in the way of legitimate players playing the game that's the problem.

Re:EA is burning (1)

mad-seumas (59267) | about a year ago | (#43552835)

This ^

Re:EA is burning (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43553031)

Agreed. While the nature of DRM and content ownership might be off-putting to many people, it's really about the obtrusiveness and inconvenience that is the deal breaker for most people. If you can manage to deliver a service that actually is convenient and potentially cost saving to the consumer, the existence of DRM becomes an acceptable trade off. The issue with EA is the business model and mentality, rather than the simple existence of DRM. While Valve has made a business of providing free content updates and modding support for free 3rd party content, EA has shifted to a model that fleeces its customers where ever possible, limiting community support in an attempt to monetize whenever and where ever they can. They give you only just enough content for your dollar and not a penny more, under the assumption that they can then charge you extra in the future for features that would have been considered must-have only a few years prior.

Re:EA is burning (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43553205)

Yeah, but steam is drm done right. They may take rights away from me, but they more than make up for it by being so damn convinient. Also, steam doesn't force games to use drm.

Re:EA is burning (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about a year ago | (#43553731)

It's sad that you think that you can have your rights taken away from you if they are otherwise nice to you.

Re:EA is burning (4, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | about a year ago | (#43553285)

There's DRM and there's DRM. Now, I won't say "good" vs. "bad" DRM, because inherently, from the consumer point of view, there's no such thing as "good" DRM. At best, there can be "acceptable" DRM. What's "acceptable" is up to the user himself, though.

Some people don't mind that selling their games is made impossible because they keep every game they buy anyway, so it does not restrict them. Others find it insufferable because their "game economy cycle" depends on them being able to sell old games to buy new ones. Some people don't mind "always on" DRM because they only play multiplayer games anyway where not having a connection to the internet means not playing the game, or because they have a stable connection and leave it up all the time, others may consider that a completely unacceptable restriction because their connection is crappy, because they don't play multiplayer and don't want their game to suddenly shut down on them for no game related reason, or simply because they don't trust the maker of the game to keep the controlling server running or offer a patch when they shut it off. That last part being maybe a problem by itself for some gamers, who enjoy pulling out an old game every now and then, while others won't worry about it since they only play the most recent installment of their favorite games and never look back.

As you see, what gamers will accept and what they will not highly depends on the individual gamer. One thing is certain: Some kind of DRM will be in the games. Even if they have to return to messing with the CD/DVD/BluRay standard and creating discs that you cannot copy for some obscure reason. The game makers of course want total control over their games, but as we can see now, that doesn't fly because the customer doesn't play along. So they'll backpedal a bit and test the waters again until they see what we'll swallow.

Steam is popular because they already kinda found that sweet spot between them wanting control and the player wanting it to "just work". Steam pretty much locks you into their service because a lot, maybe nearly all or even all, of your games are in there. Lose control of your Steam account, lose control of your library of games. Banned from one (VAC) game, banned from pretty much all of them. These are of course issues that loom over the heads of Steam users, but that seems to be something they can accept. The games work, installing them is trivial at worst (9 out of 10 games just install and you're good to go), no worries with authentication servers or similar bullshit, and that's something gamers can apparently accept.

Re:EA is burning (1)

tompaulco (629533) | about a year ago | (#43552135)

My dollars didn't vote for mobile gaming. If my dollars could vote, they would vote for just the OPPOSITE of mobile gaming. That's why I didn't buy Simcity 5. I have spent close to $1,000 on Simcity franchise over the years, but they are reducing it to a point and drool game where you have to be online to play. No thanks. I want a single player game where I can play it somewhere where I may not have internet access. Something like an upgraded Simcity.
Even Simcity 4 started to suck, what with all the asinine mini-games, many of which were hard to control and most of which seemed about as engaging and thought provoking as your average $1 phone game. To make matters worse, many of these crappy mini-games were required to open certain options in the main game.

Re:EA is burning (1)

wierd_w (1375923) | about a year ago | (#43552257)

You are missing the point.

EA wants to get paid as much as possible, while changing as little as possible. That's why they are trying a desperate gambit to jump to mobile gaming. (They believe that the mobile gaming ecosystem is more friendly to obtrusive DRM, and they are partly right.)

The GP said that voting with his dollars is working: EA games is feeling heat under the collar. However, because of the above, they purposefully look away from the burning handwriting, and feel that leaving the building is the better solution. The GP's point was that we must inform that this will not work, by continueing to ostracise them as a company, for refusing to change their core policies which are so objectionable. The fact that they are trying to jump the shark like this is evidence that they feel threatened, and that this tactic is effective.

Continue to deny the cocksuckers money, and their costly pradigm shift and phyrric restructuring will leave them hemmoraging on the table.

The false dichotomy your reply implies, is that without EA games making console and PC games, that there won't be such titles created. This is simply untrue; the removal of an obstructionist whore of a company like EA from that market will only create market opportunities for new game publishers. The money in console gaming isn't gone; it was simply denied to EA games. When other publishers continue to be profitable, after EA's death, it will create a real datapoint to cite when discussing the market impacts of obtrusive DRM, and refusing to listen to customer complaints.

Let EA games try to escape from the burning light. Just keep the magnifier on them, and they will dry up, just like the worms they are.

Re:EA is burning (1)

lexsird (1208192) | about a year ago | (#43553975)

I'm with you. Anything with their logo on it is a boycott for me. I'm sure people will track them as they try to squirm away. They have evoked the wrath of gamers and they will find we are an unforgiving lot. Track them, never buy a thing any of them produce, no matter where they hide, no matter what they change their names to, whatever. All the way down to flipping burgers, if you find one flipping burgers, throw it in their face and demand your money back.

Examples must be made and EA should become a cautionary tale that companies tell around the campfire to scare the living shit out of each other. Behold the power of a a completely pissed off customer base. Release the Kraken.

Re:EA is burning (1)

sdreader (2893571) | about a year ago | (#43552413)

I have spent close to $1,000 on Simcity franchise over the years

How?!? There's only so many SimCity games out there...

Re:EA is burning (1)

noh8rz10 (2716597) | about a year ago | (#43552965)

he's including Sims and sims IAP.

Re:EA is burning (2)

Cederic (9623) | about a year ago | (#43553331)

Who needs Sims? We have Dwarf Fortress.

Re:EA is burning (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about a year ago | (#43553303)

Well, the different between voting with your dollar/feet and voting in elections is that the former is based on the past, not the promise of the future. Thinking about it, it should be the same in elections, why are people more easily tricked into believing something when ... anyway.

What we see here is a vote AGAINST always-on DRM, not a vote FOR mobile gaming. Whether people vote for mobile gaming is something to be seen. Personally, I'm with you on this one, I play on computers and MAYBE on a console if there's a good reason for it, but I have my phone for making calls. Mostly 'cause the games offered for it are not worth my time or money, and neither are games that resemble them on a PC.

Re:EA is burning (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43552307)

I'm not convinced that the layoff is due to lack of Sim City sales. While I have no inside knowledge, I'll be willing to bet that EA is financially stable and this is just a move by management to streamline their workforce. Drop the dead weight and rehire fresh new programmers that don't make as much and work longer hours. With the poor sales of a few titles, they have reasonable excuse to dump people that won't jeopardize morale . When I was a consultant, I saw several companies do this (e.g. stock market fluctuations, 9/11, etc.).

Re:EA is burning (3, Informative)

Opportunist (166417) | about a year ago | (#43553327)

In other words, fire the guys you've driven into burnout, haul in new ones to burn through.

Employees aren't assets anymore. They're just means of production.

Re:EA is burning (5, Interesting)

RogueyWon (735973) | about a year ago | (#43553109)

You're right, of course.

But there's another, related lesson in all of this; one that's more for businesses than consumers. The irony is, it's not a new lesson; it's one that has been well known for decades (centuries?), but which seems to have been forgotten recently in a good chunk of the gaming industry.

That lesson is: "Your brands matter. Protect their value."

I'm sure that on one level, EA understands this. In fact, I suspect a few parts of the company (mainly those who handle its cash-cow sports titles, which remain well-received and commercially successful) understand it very well. It spends a fortune on advertising. It's known to throw its weight around when major releases get lackluster reviews. But at the same time, it has worked very hard in recent years to take some of the most potent brand names in gaming and drag them through the mud. And then set fire to them. And then take a dump on the remains.

A few examples: their acquisition of Bioware looked at the time like a bit of reputation control. Their name was in the crapper, so they tried to associate themselves with the halo surrounding one of the most highly regarded developers in the business. However, with Dragon Age 2 and Mass Effect 3, that brand very quickly ended up tarnished. Now, views will vary on EA's responsibility for that (personal view; extensive in the case of Dragon Age 2, but Mass Effect 3's failings felt mostly inflicted by people within Bioware). It wasn't just the disappointing games either; the day-1 DLC, starting from the original Dragon Age onwards (and I'd never accuse that game of being disappointing) did a lot to erode consumer good will and cement a reputation for nickel-and-diming customers who had purchased already expensive games. In fact, many of the post-launch DLC packs for EA/Bioware games have been good value, but the reputational damage is done by the day-1 stuff.

Or take Command & Conquer; one of the absolutely core franchises in the history of PC gaming. Actually, EA's history here is more complicated than it might appear. Westwood had itself done all it possibly could to tarnish this brand, with C&C2 and Red Alert 2, both of which felt years behind the curve at the point of release. EA's first move on acquiring the franchise was a bit odd and bewildering - sticking the name onto Generals - a title that clearly had little to do with Command & Conquer (which isn't to say that it was bad, just that it didn't look or feel like a C&C game). However, EA then seemed to buck its ideas up; C&C3 and Red Alert 3 were both, in their own ways, high quality titles and felt like a return to grace for the series. So what a pity that the usual EA self-destructive tendencies were allowed to take over; C&C4 was clearly rushed to release and was crippled by barely-functional always-online DRM. Since then, all we've seen has been some craptacular gestures towards the pay-to-win market.

And then there's SimCity. I won't dwell on this at length; the discussion is live across many, many gaming sites at the moment. But again, EA has taken a loved and respected franchise and smeared it in excrement. In fact, in this case, EA's reputation was already bad enough that I didn't make the mistake of buying this title.

The result of this? At one point, Bioware games - and games with the C&C or SimCity name on them - would have been guaranteed purchases for me (and, I suspect, for a lot of other people). As of now, though, I would sniff carefully around the reviews of a Bioware game, and wouldn't touch a C&C or a SimCity with a barge pole. The brand value has been substantially diminished or outright destroyed. There are other examples too; I loved the old (early 2000s) Medal of Honor games - but the first of EA's recent reboots was grim enough that I didn't touch its sequel and they've now canned the franchise again because a lot of other people clearly felt the same.

Funny thing is, EA aren't (quite) the worst in the industry at this. Dire though they are, I don't think they can quite match Square-Enix in terms of sheer self-abuse.

At one point during the PS2 generation, some estimates put Final Fantasy as the most profitable franchise in all of gaming. But as that generation went on, Squenix's focus shifted from producing relatively infrequent but high quality games to churning out handheld and mobile titles of variable quality. Over the course of the current generation, we've seen the underwhelming FF13, the dismal FF14 (currently suspended pending a relaunch) and a large number of handheld and social games whose quality ranges from "reasonable" to the "completely shit". Indeed, with the likes of "Final Fantasy: All the Bravest" (which has some hilarious reviews out there), Squenix have made clear that what they want from the franchise are basically low-cost pay-to-win exploitation machines.

What too many companies have done in recent years is hitch their biggest and most important franchises onto every obnoxious new trend as it comes along. By and large, gamers hate day-1 DLC. They hate always-online requirements for games that aren't proper MMOs. They are mistrustful of the annual release cycle for formerly "high quality" franchises. Outside of Japan, they are gradually losing interest in the dedicated gaming handhelds. And while they may be taken in from time to time by pay-to-win games, they do tend to wise up to them sooner or later. And once a franchise has been dragged through one or more of those particular cesspits, its value is gone and will be very, very hard to recover.

Re:EA is burning (1)

Shimbo (100005) | about a year ago | (#43553457)

i had to name mine Lamar, just wouldn't be right otherwise

Lamarr. FTFY ;)

Re:EA is burning (1)

lexsird (1208192) | about a year ago | (#43553899)

I can't wait to dance on their fucking grave.

madeyears (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43551081)

Getting rid of samzenpus is a move that should have been 'madeyears' ago.

Dinosaur (1)

LocalH (28506) | about a year ago | (#43551085)

EA has basically sucked ass ever since they stopped making non-game software.

Re:Dinosaur (1)

Trepidity (597) | about a year ago | (#43551239)

What non-game software did EA used to make? I can't think of anything, and a quick Google doesn't turn anything up.

Re:Dinosaur (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43551419)

I'm pretty sure DeluxePaint, and I seem to recall some sort of music construction software, at the very least.

Re:Dinosaur (4, Informative)

LocalH (28506) | about a year ago | (#43551451)

Several applications, most notably for the Amiga (although some of them also came out on other platforms like MS-DOS and the Apple IIgs). Their most notable series was Deluxe Paint, which was used for many of the 16-bit video games that were released on computers and consoles. They also released Deluxe Video (I have a boxed copy of DV3 still sitting here), Deluxe Music Construction Set. They also created the IFF file format specification, which saturated the Amiga platform (with sub-formats such as ILBM for images, ANIM for animation, 8SVX for sound samples, SMUS for sequenced music) and even lives on long after the Amiga's commercial death (AVI, WAV, and ANI formats on the Windows platform are basically little-endian IFF files with different chunk names, and AIFF on the Mac platform is also basically IFF with different chunk names and can either be big- or little-endian, but are most commonly found today as little-endian).

Re:Dinosaur (3, Funny)

owlnation (858981) | about a year ago | (#43551521)

What non-game software did EA used to make? I can't think of anything, and a quick Google doesn't turn anything up.

DRM? It turns most games into non-games, very quickly.

Re:Dinosaur (1)

seebs (15766) | about a year ago | (#43551537)

DeluxePaint, various related programs. The IFF standard, which remains one of the nicer file formats. Deluxe Music Construction Set. Probably a lot of others forgotten in the mists of time.

Re:Dinosaur (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43551467)

EA has basically sucked ass ever since their first day in business.

FTFY.

Re:Dinosaur (1)

LocalH (28506) | about a year ago | (#43551695)

No, their application software was actually quite nice. When they were publishing it, that is.

Re:Dinosaur (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43553275)

They also had tons of great games for the C64 and Amiga - Seven Cities of Gold, Mail Order Monsters, Populous - just to name a few that I can still remember. It used to be that the EA logo was a sign you where getting quality software; today it is a warning label.

Re: Dinosaur (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43551641)

SimCity

good riddance! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43551097)

They were big and had money but not good games. Move on shit bags and make shovelware on mobile. That should leave some open space for some good companies.

New consoles coming (1)

rsilvergun (571051) | about a year ago | (#43551125)

and they're slashing workforce? wtf? Is this a sudden dive in quality or is the better tech being used to reduce the number of developers/artists needed? They guy that did the meshes for Metroid Prime spent a month on optimization for the final boss alone. That's not really needed when you've got 8 gigs of ram I suppose.

Re:New consoles coming (2)

TWX (665546) | about a year ago | (#43551157)

Firing too many staff would directly impact the quality of the games produced. But, if your games are already crap to start with then you've already lost the customer base, and unless you can float the labor costs until the next successful game comes out, you're screwed. As you cut staff, what's remaining of the core product gets worse, the customer base shrinks, and you end up losing more money and having to make more cuts.

Re:New consoles coming (3, Insightful)

Hadlock (143607) | about a year ago | (#43551193)

The medical term for this is "circling the drain"

Re:New consoles coming (5, Interesting)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a year ago | (#43551437)

If it's a medical term, then it has to have an ICD-10 code.

Closest I found was:

W17.1XXA Fall into storm drain or manhole, initial encounter -

but perhaps since EA has been screwing up for some time, we should use

Code W17.1XXD, Fall into storm drain or manhole, subsequent encounter or perhaps
Code 17.1XXS, Sequela of falling into storm hole or drain

Re:New consoles coming (1)

Hadlock (143607) | about a year ago | (#43552277)

The book you want to reference is labeled "Colloquialisms"

Re:New consoles coming (1)

jma05 (897351) | about a year ago | (#43552433)

> If it's a medical term, then it has to have an ICD-10 code

As someone who has done clinical terminology work: not at all. Only a fraction of medical terms have representation in ICD-10.

Re:New consoles coming (1)

sootman (158191) | about a year ago | (#43552525)

He should have said "technical term." If you're circling the drain, you aren't in any medical distress... yet.

HB1's coming in min work time 80 hours a week (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year ago | (#43551163)

HB1's coming in min work time 80 hours a week and you will get an boss who will go leaving at 10pm?

Re:HB1's coming in min work time 80 hours a week (1)

bbelt16ag (744938) | about a year ago | (#43551233)

sounds about right dude. its all circling the drain

Re:HB1's coming in min work time 80 hours a week (2)

guttentag (313541) | about a year ago | (#43551493)

This week at EA, a green-haired guy with glasses appears on your computer screen against a red background, waving his arms wildly:

FIRE!

Yowwza! A fire has broken out! If it continues to burn, it will spread through the company. Bulldoze the cubicles around the fire to stop it from spreading. Have you put in your 80 hours this week yet or do you have sufficient firing protection?

Next week at EA, the same green-haired guy appears [photobucket.com] , a little more pleasant:

Hello! I'm Dr. Wright. You must be the new H-1B worker! Let's practice our teambuilding techniques by building a Power Plant and then adding Residential, Commercial, and Industrial zones to your cubicle. Next, connect all the zones with CAT5 and then add power strips so you can work from any zone of your cubicle and get ahead in the race to not get downsized and deported!

Re:HB1's coming in min work time 80 hours a week (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43551519)

Maybe we should start bringing in H1-Bs to replace upper management. Let's see how those assholes like it when their dicks are on the chopping block for a change. CEO: "Can I have my multi-million dollar bonus this year? I worked extra hard to run the company into the ground!" Board/Shareholders: "No, clean out your desk and get the fuck out. We found somebody cheaper."

Re:New consoles coming (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43551221)

"the layoffs has reached as much as 10 percent of its workforce" doesn't mean what everyone thinks it means. The actual number could very well be less. One maneuver companies can use is close open reqs against the workforce "reductions". Open reqs are already in the budget thus closing a reqs has a similar, albeit slightly smaller, impact on reducing staffing and budgets.

Re:New consoles coming or are they (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | about a year ago | (#43551429)

Well, I've seen at least one of their online games announce a shut down, so it does mean what we think it means.

Re:New consoles coming (2)

JoeMerchant (803320) | about a year ago | (#43551227)

It's called rank & yank. Great to keep a culture of stress and fear bubbling over, which is how they seem to like it at EA.

Re:New consoles coming (2)

Pseudonym (62607) | about a year ago | (#43551599)

Maybe they're firing all the people who bet their careers on the Cell?

Re:New consoles coming (5, Funny)

DrVomact (726065) | about a year ago | (#43552153)

and they're slashing workforce? wtf? Is this a sudden dive in quality or is the better tech being used to reduce the number of developers/artists needed? They guy that did the meshes for Metroid Prime spent a month on optimization for the final boss alone. That's not really needed when you've got 8 gigs of ram I suppose.

Ah, young grasshoper, thou hast evidently not learned the subtleties of Scientific Management. Members of this group use a very special sort of language. That is, it's sort of a language, composed of technical terms (a.k.a. "jargon"). To quote TFA:

In recent weeks, EA has aligned all elements of its organizational structure behind priorities in new technologies and mobile.

The terms in bold are technical terms that thou might mistake for English. I shall translate them into normal English for thee, so you can fully understand that they are not English:

  • aligned: "to break"; ex: "Stalin aligned the party's thinking by killing every member who disagreed with him."
  • elements: people, but with the connotation of "objects", or perhaps "resources"; ex: "The Battle of Black Mountain was the outcome of a long series of injustices inflicted by the coal mine bosses on their elements".
  • organizational structure: A way to stupefy people until their collective intelligence is roughly equal to a cubic kilometer of crayfish, while making them believe it's the only way to get things done; alternate meaning: a sort of meat grinder; ex: Attila the Hun dominated by means of a very flat but effective organizational structure.
  • priorities: Anything that the elite of the organizational structure think is important; ex: "Chickens do not understand the farmer's priorities—until it's too late.
  • new technologies: vague; refers to anything considered by the heads of a power structure to be a priority; ex: "Well just keep promising them new technologies and raking in their money until they catch on".
  • mobile: They have a getaway strategy.

By the way, I did not comprehend your references to "Metroid Prime" and "8 gigs". Perhaps I am missing one of your little jokes again, ha ha?

Not the end (1)

goldgin (1218596) | about a year ago | (#43551209)

People think laying off means the end while it doesn't. When big companies lay off early and in what seems out of the blue simply means the math is better. Nowadays I just think big gaming companies hire and layoff whenever they see fit. Even to save for a couple of idle months salaries during the holidays... sad really, considering the increasing percentage of kids studing to be game programmers.

Not news worthy (1, Informative)

BlueCoder (223005) | about a year ago | (#43551225)

This is nothing new and is how any business like this should work. Laying off people is normal and healthy unless your talking about 90% of a company. 10% is nothing. It's simply makes room to try new projects and people.

Re:Not news worthy (2)

MrEricSir (398214) | about a year ago | (#43551315)

A company firing 900 people in a single day isn't newsworthy? Seriously?

Re:Not news worthy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43551545)

A company firing 900 people in a single day isn't newsworthy? Seriously?

No. Sorry man.

Re:Not news worthy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43551989)

Fire one man, and you are a murderer. Fire millions of men, and you are a conqueror. Fire them all, and you are a god.

Ok, the paraphrasing doesn't quite work, but you get the point....

Re:Not news worthy (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43551567)

Hey our games suck because we overwork our employees and set unrealistic deadlines. I know! Lets improve our products by slashing staff!!
Brilliant!

What a crock of shit. All large layoffs at large companies are motivated by one thing, and one thing only: Making investors happy.
Slashing staff creates short-term profit increases. Wall street gets it's quick fix. Executives get their bonus. 10% of EA's regular working man staff lose their livelyhood, and America dies a little bit more.

To all those about to parrot some drivel about companies serving stockholders: Fuck you.

Re:Not news worthy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43551727)

Not just that. If your company is about to go public, it's time to dust off that resume and get out ASAP. I've seen it many times: once there are shareholders to keep happy, the work environment turns to shit. Whatever nice perks there were get cut to the bone or scrapped entirely, stress goes through the roof, and there's no reason to stick around anymore. If you decide to stay you're probably going to end up hating your job.

Re:Not news worthy (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#43553851)

you really think that EA does shit games because they don't have enough staff? really? reaaaallly?
if anything they do shit games and have time for middle managers to overwork the people because they have too much staff.

look at their output! the reason they work so much is that they fear of getting slashed if they don't: but do they do anything worthwhile while working those 16 hour days?? fuck no.

have a thousand cooks make one bowl of soup and see how it goes. call it piss-easoup.

Re:Not news worthy (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43551971)

This is nothing new and is how any business like this should work. Laying off people is normal and healthy unless your talking about 90% of a company. 10% is nothing. It's simply makes room to try new projects and people.

If you want to know the problem with business take a look in the mirror. People are not disposable. Treat them as such and you'll have a revolving door of users who try to screw you before you screw them and idiots who'll let you burn them out and hang on producing garbage for years before you do manage to fire them. IT moves quickly - without continuity all you produce is ill conceived short term idiocy. Treat people who produce with respect and they'll stay with you, especially in a market where others don't.

Re:Not news worthy (2)

Rogerborg (306625) | about a year ago | (#43553167)

You don't "lay off" in order to recruit "new people". In many jurisdictions, you can't do that legally.

Not that EA has ever cared about silly little things like employment laws.

Incidentally, I work for a 10,000+ employ software company, and to my knowledge and belief, they have never "laid off" anyone, ever.

I'd better tell management that consistent year on year growth - and regularly heading up the best companies to work for lists - is "abnormal" and "unhealthy". They're doing it wrong!

Not suprised (4, Informative)

dcmcilrath (2859893) | about a year ago | (#43551257)

Welcome to capitalism, If you do nothing but make shitty games and piss people off until you get voted worst company in America two years running, [consumerist.com] you are going to suffer losses, or go bankrupt. (Personally, I keep my fingers crossed)

I do feel really bad for the people who work there though :(

Re:Not suprised (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43552155)

>> I do feel really bad for the people who work there though :(

EA has a long history of treating their employees badly. Why would anyone work there in the first place?

Re:Not suprised (1)

Captain Hook (923766) | about a year ago | (#43553587)

Why do you think EA has to buy development companies?

The rare time when a layoff euphemism isnt (1)

sethstorm (512897) | about a year ago | (#43551363)

Given how EA treats their own, "being free to pursue other opportunities" is not a euphemism for a layoff but a truthful declaration of freedom. This is probably the nicest thing that EA is willing to do for its own.

Console dinosaur? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43551375)

For the console dinosaur that's trying to fight extinction by evolving into a bigger mobile player

Is "CONSOLES ARE DYING" the new "PC GAMING IS DYING"? Mobile gaming will not replace console gaming the same way console gaming did not and likely cannot ever truly replace PC gaming. Also, EA is like 30 years old and started off as a PC gaming company. They're going to adapt to the market like they have been for decades. As much as people pretend to hate them, they still buy their games every single year. Unless that changes EA is not going anywhere.

And by the way... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43551407)

EA has a lot of seasonal/contract employees that they layoff every summer because that's just how their yearly dev cycle shakes out.

Because they weren't overworked enough as it is. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43551417)

EA has a horrible reputation for demanding employees basically give them their entire lives, and then spitting them out when the exhaustion inevitably sets in. Reducing the number of workers isn't going to help this.

They won the Golden Poo 2 years in a row. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43551557)

Looks like they are shooting for 3 years.

Reference: Consumerist's Worst Company in America.

How About Cutting the DRM Department? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43551581)

Seriously, EA, the best cost-cutting you could do would be to lose the DRM.

Three cheers for EA on fire (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43551597)

The best thing that can happen to computer gaming is for EA, Ubisoft and the like to burn in hell while choking on a bag of dicks.

Don't think of it as downsizing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43551729)

Think of it as freeing them from their misery.

Tragedy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43551777)

Something must be done about these violent video games.
You know you've created a monster when the game companies themselves assault their employees.

FPS (1)

froth-bite (2777385) | about a year ago | (#43551839)

First Person Slashed ?

Must be those nasty pirates (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43551865)

stealing all the profit. Need more restrictive DRM to fight pirating. Quick!

Artificial Scarcity Screws Artists (2, Insightful)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about a year ago | (#43552295)

Companies that gather their wealth by leveraging artificial scarcity (bits are in infinite supply) can easily slash their workforces and continue profiting by their infinite price hikes:
if ( supply == infinity ) price = 0; // Regardless of cost to create.
If price is greater than zero then the markup tends toward infinity.

If instead the company was marketing something that is actually scarce -- it's ability to do work: configure the bits -- then their profit would be directly related to the capacity to perform work and create new content. Right now their profits are decoupled from the actual artists capable of creating works -- The people you want your money to go towards when you pay for the works. This system of publishing is flawed: By having no guarantee of even interest from the customers the publishers gamble with the fate of those making the works. If they make a great product one round, but stumble once, they are cut away as failures.

All other labor markets do not use artificial scarcity. Artists can be commissioned to make works and they can rest secure in that their efforts have been funded. Mechanics and Home builders and all service industry employees get guarantees for their work in the form of employment contracts, the laws of the land ensure they will get paid for their work. The workers under a Publisher are actually guaranteed via employment contract, but the publisher itself has no assurance that the real customer will pay the price sufficient to keep producing works.

Clearly the problem is copyright -- The enforcement of artificial scarcity. You don't own your work, the customer who paid for it does. Only by the economically untenable practice of enforcing copyright are the producers able to sell something that is in infinite supply (copies). It would be like selling ice to Eskimos, or sand to beach bums.

Interestingly, crowd funding has come a long way towards cutting out the Publishers who seek to maximize profit far beyond the cost to create works. Instead you can ask the customers directly what works they would like to fund, and then do the work for the agreed upon price, then give the works to all the public for free (because they already paid to have it created). To the artists themselves this is no different than working under the Publisher. Sadly, greed prevents most of the independent developers who crowd-source funding from avoiding the artificial scarcity racket -- They fall to the same moronic methods that the Publishers do when they sell copies. The publishers must inflate price just to justify their own existence, but their practices do not need to exist. Instead, they could simply do more work to make more money -- get assurances from the customers for payment and make new things -- and never have to worry about being laid off again.

I write this to inform any former EA employees (or anyone in their positions) that there is another way to make a living -- The way I do: You can have a solid future, but you must change your damn minds about copyrights. Market your ability to do work directly to the customers, like all others in labor markets do. If you can't manage to come to grips with the reality that selling Ice to Eskimos is a laughable business strategy for everyone involved, then at least unionize you fools! Crunch Time?! NO. That reeks of incompetent management, and abusive manipulation. It is no coincidence that the workers having the problems of instability, churn and abuse to this degree are also those that ultimately make profits by way of artificial scarcity...

Totally retarded. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43553723)

If you were in a position to make $100 per hour instead of $10 would you do it despite the fact that your lifestyle can be maintained with a $10 per hour salary? How about working 80 hours per week instead of 40 for the same salary?

That's what you're saying above. Bits are in infinite supply, but talent and the structure to get that talent to produce something epic is not. The company takes a giant risk producing a game that may or may not return profits. Its like any VC structure: you're gonna have flops and your blockbusters have to subsidize those flops.

So if you don't like it, stop blaming copyright. Copyright is the only thing we have that assures that anyone, or any company, will take the massive risks involved in producing a major title which can run upwards of $50m+ to make. That longterm copyright is broke I agree (wtf Disney), but short-term copyright is near perfect.

Making money like you do cannot and does not product the volume of epic works that the copyright structure allows for. There are very very few massively distributed collaborative not-for-profit efforts out there and many of them are funded by a patron.

The level of ignorance in this thread (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43552355)

Baffles me...
EA has a large number of studios all with different cultures, processes, and management. Given the size of the company there WILL be crappy work environments. Stories about these seem to get heavily magnified by the Internet lens. I've heard way worse things about other companies, but EA being one of the largest seems the easiest to hate.
Secondly, how long do you fund a money losing team/studio. At some point you have to pull the plug. If it was your money in the game you would've had it out way sooner.
Nonetheless mass layoffs are really shitty and I really feel for those devs since I'm sure some where great at their job.

Re:The level of ignorance in this thread (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43552765)

What's baffling about it? EA has been making crap and ruining the companies it buys up for decades. Ask any Ultima fan. They're just finally getting what's due and nobody feels sorry for them.

Well, nobody who isn't late to the scene anyway.

Re:The level of ignorance in this thread (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#43553879)

Baffles me...
EA has a large number of studios all with different cultures, processes, and management. Given the size of the company there WILL be crappy work environments. Stories about these seem to get heavily magnified by the Internet lens. I've heard way worse things about other companies, but EA being one of the largest seems the easiest to hate.
Secondly, how long do you fund a money losing team/studio. At some point you have to pull the plug. If it was your money in the game you would've had it out way sooner.
Nonetheless mass layoffs are really shitty and I really feel for those devs since I'm sure some where great at their job.

why don't you go play dragon age II. look, it's not the "given the size of the company" that gets them hate. it's their 17 year or so consistent run in buying studios and exactly 6 months later that studios output turns to _shit_. when they're purely publishing for someone else then it's not so bad, but if the game is a hit then they in a little while own the studio and the next product is again shit.

Oh... they're reducing the number of employees (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | about a year ago | (#43553133)

Because when I read "EA" and "slashing workforce" I half expected it to be about "the cubicle stabbings will continue until morale improves."

Dont fire the workers, fire the managers! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43553401)

Saves much more money and probably will remove more dickheads.

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