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Electronic Arts Cancels Upcoming ‘Star Wars’ Game, Plans to Cut More Than 650 Jobs

Video game publishing giant Electronic Arts is the latest gaming company to slash its workforce.

The company announced the restructuring plan Wednesday, telling employees that it would be shedding about 5 percent of its workforce, or more than 650 jobs.

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“While not every team will be impacted, this is the hardest part of these changes, and we have deeply considered every option to try and limit impacts to our teams,” EA CEO Andrew Wilson wrote in a memo to staff.

“Given how and where we are working, we are continuing to optimize our global real estate footprint to best support our business,” Wilson added. “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. Lastly, we are streamlining our company operations to deliver deeper, more connected experiences for fans everywhere that build community, shape culture, and grow fandom.”

In a securities filing, EA said that would incur approximately $125 million to $165 million in total charges related to the restructuring plan, including $50 million to $65 million associated with office space reductions, approximately $40 million to $55 million related to employee severance and employee-related costs, and $35 million to $45 million in costs associated with licensor commitments.

That will include the cancelation of a high-profile upcoming Star Wars first-person shooter game, according to a memo from Laura Miele, president of EA entertainment and technology.

“As we’ve looked at [EA’s Star Wars studio] Respawn’s portfolio over the last few months, what’s clear is the games our players are most excited about are Jedi and Respawn’s rich library of owned brands,” Miele writes. “Knowing this, we have decided to pivot away from early development on a Star Wars FPS Action game to focus our efforts on new projects based on our owned brands while providing support for existing games. It’s always hard to walk away from a project, and this decision is not a reflection of the team’s talent, tenacity, or passion they have for the game.”

Miele added that the company will be sunsetting some licensed mobile games as well, including Kim Kardashian Hollywood and a Lord of the Rings game.

The decision to stop development of the Star Wars game comes just a few weeks after Disney announced a major investment in Epic Games, with plans to create a new universe that will include Star Wars and Marvel characters.

Read Wilson’s memo below.

Team,

We are entertaining, inspiring, and connecting more people with more content and deeper experiences than ever before. Over the last year, we have organized our company to further empower our creative leaders to deliver our strategic priorities of entertaining massive online communities, telling blockbuster stories, and harnessing the power of community in and around our games. These actions have positioned us to build bigger, bolder experiences for hundreds of millions of players and fans around the world.

We are also leading through an accelerating industry transformation where player needs and motivations have changed significantly. 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. Our industry exists at the cutting edge of entertainment, and in today’s dynamic environment, we are advancing the way we work and continuing to evolve our business.

As a company full of creators and storytellers, we believe in the value of teams innovating together, and continue to learn and adopt new ways of collaborating to grow and serve our global communities. Given how and where we are working, we are continuing to optimize our global real estate footprint to best support our business. 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. Lastly, we are streamlining our company operations to deliver deeper, more connected experiences for fans everywhere that build community, shape culture, and grow fandom.

In this time of change, we expect these decisions to impact approximately 5 percent of our workforce. I understand this will create uncertainty and be challenging for many who have worked with such dedication and passion and have made important contributions to our company. While not every team will be impacted, this is the hardest part of these changes, and we have deeply considered every option to try and limit impacts to our teams. Our primary goal is to provide team members with opportunities to find new roles and paths to transition onto other projects. Where that’s not possible, we will support and work with each colleague with the utmost attention, care, and respect. Communicating these impacts has already begun and will be largely completed by early next quarter.

I want to extend my appreciation to everyone who has helped contribute to EA’s ongoing story. We are a team that leans into our values to lead the future of entertainment, and I look forward to what we will create together. Thank you for all that you do.

Andrew


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