EA shed 795 staff in twelve months

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