'Cuts will be minimal' asserts firm, but industry chat now swirls around EA LA

EA moves to quell job fears

Although tongues continue to wag across the industry about the fall-out from its restructuring, EA has moved to clarify that the recently announced closure of a UK office is a bid to eliminate costly physical facilities – not job positions.

Speaking to Develop, a representative said the the Chertsey, UK closure was an operational choice to improve efficiency rather than one to reduce headcount.

The closure of the Chertsey office was confirmed last week, with most staff at the office (which included a mix of QA and publishing staff) set to move in with the EA UK Studio and Criterion Games teams which are housed in the recently opened nearby Guildford office.

The spokesperson explained: "Guildford becomes the hub for EA’s business in the UK. Everybody in Chertsey will be housed in the Guildford office in future."

At the same time as the Chertsey closure, EA confirmed that 350 jobs would be lost across the worldwide operation – a number that may include the subsequently announced 150 jobs lost via the closure of EA Chicago.

Although industry chat speculates that more cuts are on the way, EA says this isn’t the case, adding: "This is not a headcount-reducing exercise, it is a move to a different building. It is just costly and unnecessary to have two offices so close to each other.

"We’re making a number of changes within the business, and within that around 350 jobs will be cut across our operations worldwide. We are unable to break down where these might be at this time, but they are across a mix of areas within the business."

If the latest industry chat is to be believed, one of those areas might be California, especially if EA is examining where it has duplicated studios in one city.

Questions are specifically being raised by commentators about EA LA; last month, the firm announced plans to acquire Pandemic and Bioware – the former has a facility in Los Angeles just a few miles from the EA LA base, which is responsible for making games including Medal of Honor, Command and Conquer and the upcoming Steven Spielberg projects.

Some are now speculating that the two studios could be housed in one centralised base, as seen at the UK’s Chertsey/Guildford announcement.

EA, however, would not comment on the speculation.

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