Publisher says 22% of workforce is now 'based in low cost areas'

EA shed 795 staff in twelve months

Electronic Arts ended 2010 with 795 fewer employees than the year prior, its chief financial officer has revealed.

Eric Brown said the publishing giant “ended the [calendar year] with 7,742 employees versus 8,537 a year ago”.

That fall comes as the publisher moves investment to low-cost areas – such as Sanghai, Melbourne and Montreal – as part of wider plans to plug its revenue leak.

“Twenty-two per cent of our employees are now in low cost locations,” Brown said.

“We expect [to retain] a total headcount of less than 8,000 [before April 2011],” Brown added, “and we continue to move resources from high-cost to low-cost locations”.

Brown expected EA’s total low-cost headcount to increase to 23 per cent over the next three months.

The publisher’s net losses deepened to $322 million during the October-December 2010 period.

Across 2010 EA was the subject of numerous rumours regarding mass redundancies.

In October the firm denied it had axed 100 workers, though confirmed a layoff round had affected “a small number” of people.

One explanation for the vast yet silent staff contraction – at around 9.3 per cent – is that many 2010 redundancies were part of a major restructuring initiative announced back in 2009.

In November 2009 EA revealed it was to axe some 1,500 staff – around 800 of which were developers.

That was perhaps the most drastic measure the publisher had made to remedy a twelve-quarter (3-year) string of continuous net losses.

John Riccitiello said yesterday the publisher’s annual operating expenses have fallen seven per cent “thanks to lower headcount and a more focused portfolio”.

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