EA Closing Need for Speed, Skate Dev. Black Box, 'At Least' Eight Others

39
Electronic Arts has revealed that it will be closing "at least" nine facilities as part of its restructuring plan, including Need for Speed and Skate developer Black Box.

With Black Box closed, EA will relocate the studio's development teams and "associated game franchises" to a nearby office in Burnaby, British Columbia. The other "studio and publishing locations" facing closure were not named in the announcement.

Overall, EA will axe around 1,000 employees, roughly 10% of its global workforce. Previously, the publisher said it would cut 6% of its employees under the plan. The majority of these actions are planned to occur before March 31, 2009.

EA expects the plan will "result in annual cost savings of approximately $120 million," along with restructuring charges of around $55-65 million over the coming quarters.

The publisher also declared a newfound focus on "hit games with higher margin opportunities," following word that it will be canceling several unspecified games. However, the company stressed that it is still "committed to taking creative risks."

Black Box recently released the critical failure Need for Speed: Undercover and aided in the creation of Skate It for Wii and Nintendo DS. Skate 2, presumed to be the team's last Black Box-branded title, will hit PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 on January 21.

From The Chatty
  • reply
    December 19, 2008 8:06 AM

    So, uh, what other studios are they closing?

    • reply
      December 19, 2008 8:06 AM

      I really wish we knew.

      • reply
        December 19, 2008 8:06 AM

        The other "studio and publishing locations" facing closure were not named in the announcement.

    • reply
      December 19, 2008 8:20 AM

      Well they are merging The Sims, Casual group, who ever runs pogo, and Will Wright's studio as one group with Rod Humble (sp?) leading it. That probably counts for several groups there. I wouldn't be surprised if Ultima Online finally closes up shop.

      • reply
        December 19, 2008 9:20 AM

        Will Wright is a part of EA Games. Unless something has changed that I don't know about.

        • reply
          December 19, 2008 10:16 AM

          I don't know about the last year, but Will usually had a small team that was largely separate from the rest of the EA grinder. Think of it as an isolated thinktank which would do innovative stuff before rolling a huge number of production people onto it. Isolation included a separate office, etc. This was preserved when the Sims team was moved, though I don't know if it had lasted since then.

          ...or that is my understanding from ex-Sims devs.

          • reply
            December 19, 2008 11:02 AM

            The Emeryville Spore team is rather large. I don't have precise numbers, but they aren't a 5 man think tank. When The Sims 2 team was moved from Walnut Creek to EARS, Will and the Spore team moved to Emeryville (or something like that).

            But, the main point of my comment is that Will Wright is a part of EA Games whereas Sims is its own division that's paired with EA Casual now.

            • reply
              December 19, 2008 11:07 AM

              They were around 100 people on-site when I quit

              • reply
                December 19, 2008 11:41 AM

                I was thinking small relative to EAs past team sizes (300 on Godfather?), but didn't realize it was that large. I was thinking closer to 30-50. Thank you for the correction.

    • reply
      December 19, 2008 9:28 AM

      Hold onto your butts. Hopefully you guys are safe.

    • reply
      December 19, 2008 10:22 AM

      Folding Pandemic into EALA?

Hello, Meet Lola