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EA lays off 5% of its developers as it moves away from licensed games

Cal wielding his blue lightsaber and walking with BD-1 in Star Wars Jedi: Survivor key art.
EA / EA

EA announced that it will lay off 5% of its workforce by the end of March as part of an initiative that will also see it move away from making a lot of externally licensed games in the future.

“We are also sunsetting games and moving away from development of future licensed IP that we do not believe will be successful in our changing industry. This greater focus allows us to drive creativity, accelerate innovation, and double down on our biggest opportunities — including our owned IP, sports, and massive online communities — to deliver the entertainment players want today and tomorrow,” CEO Andrew Wilson explained in a post on EA’s website.

In terms of licensed games, EA is developing titles based on Black Panther, Iron Man, and Star Wars. In a statement to GamesIndustry.biz, EA says the Marvel games are not impacted by this change, but a separate post credited to President of EA Entertainment and Technology Laura Miele outlines what is. A Star Wars FPS game has been canceled at Respawn Entertainment so the studio can focus on “Jedi and Respawn’s rich library of owned brands,” and EA is shutting down mobile games based on Kim Kardashian, Lord of the Rings, baseball, and F1. Game studio Ridgeline is also “winding down” as the work it was doing on Battlefield is shifting to DICE, Ripple Effect, and Criterion.

A man taking a picture of the EA logo.
EA CEO Andrew Wilson speaks during the Electronic Arts EA Play event at the Hollywood Palladium on June 10, 2017, in Los Angeles. Christian Peterson / Getty / EA

Wilson’s comments imply that this change in licensed strategy won’t impact its sports game output, though. Essentially, EA wants to double down on bigger games with greater potential based on IP it has full control over. “Fans are increasingly engaging with the largest IP, and looking to us for broader experiences where they can play, watch, create content, and forge deeper connections,” Wilson claims in his post. Miele shared a similar sentiment, stating that “giving fans the next installments of the iconic franchises they want is the definition of blockbuster storytelling and the right place to focus” when talking about Respawn and that “I’m optimistic about where we can take our significant library of owned IP,” when discussing mobile game strategy.

GamesIndustry.biz estimates that 5% of EA’s workforce is about 670 game developers and that this restructuring plan will cost the video game publisher between $125 and $165 million. Just two months in, 2024 has been full of video game industry layoffs. Just this week, Sony announced plans to lay off over 900 employees, Saltsea Chronicles developer Gute Die Fabrik shut down, and Until Dawn developer Supermassive Games and The Expanse: A Telltale Series studio Deck Nine Games both also announced layoffs.

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Tomas Franzese
Gaming Staff Writer
Tomas Franzese is a Staff Writer at Digital Trends, where he reports on and reviews the latest releases and exciting…
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