Early Sunday morning a report appeared on entrepreneurial blog Startup Grind claiming that gaming giant EA would be laying off somewhere between 500 and 1,000 employees in the immediate future. “I’ve confirmed from multiple sources within Electronic Arts that the company is planning to layoff 500-1,000 people as soon as this week,” the piece reads. “… that represents between 5%-11% of total company employees. The layoffs were originally set for last Monday (4/9), but they were pushed back and we’ve confirmed they’re coming very soon.”
The reasons for these layoffs, the report claims, include the purportedly underwhelming sales of Battlefield 3 and Star Wars: The Old Republic, EA’s $1.3 billion acquisition of beloved casual gaming developer PopCap Games and what the blog calls EA CEO John Riccitello’s “acquisition warpath,” among others.
In turn, EA has flatly denied these reports. “There are no lay-offs as such, we always have projects growing and morphing,” the publisher told MCV. “At any given time there are new people coming in and others leaving. EA is growing and hiring and building teams to support the growing demand for digital games and services.”
Undeterred, Startup Grind claims that EA’s statement actually offers subtle hints that the blog’s original report is, in fact, legit. “EA will likely spin any downsizing as not ‘layoff’ but rather some sort of “restructuring” which is effectively the same thing as long as the number of people reaches a certain level,” Startup Grind adds in an update to its original piece. “In their statement this morning they left the window open to make such a move.”
In the end we’re left with a “he said/she said” situation. We won’t officially know EA’s plans until these layoffs either occur or are forgotten with the arrival of the next news cycle, so in the meantime feel free to draw your own conclusions.