Star Wars games canceled as EA cuts 670 jobs

Star Wars games canceled as EA cuts 670 jobs

Electronic Arts (EA) will cancel the upcoming Star Wars game and will lay off 5% of its employees worldwide – about 670 people.

The game, which is in early development, will be a first-person shooter set in the Star Wars universe.

The firm said the “streamlining” would “deliver a deeper and more relevant experience for fans”.

It’s the latest example of layoffs to hit the gaming industry.

“With an incredibly difficult time getting funding to start a new game studio, and thousands being laid off by the month, video games are at great risk of losing the best talent out of the industry and undermining for years,” said Rich Barham, a former executive at game studio, Blizzard.

EA announced in December 2023 that it would lay off staff at UK developer Codemasters, known for racing games F1 23 and EA Sports WRC.

In a letter to staff, boss Andrew Wilson said the company had started contacting affected workers, with the redundancies expected to be completed by the summer.

He also explained the decision to develop fewer new titles.

“We are also ceasing games and moving away from the development of future licensed IP that we do not believe will be successful in our changing industry,” he wrote.

“This greater focus allows us to drive creativity, accelerate innovation and double down on our biggest opportunities — including our proprietary IP, sports and massive online communities — to deliver the entertainment players want today and tomorrow.”

In a subsequent email to staff, EA entertainment boss Laura Miele said this would mean canceling an upcoming Star Wars title that subsidiary Respawn Entertainment was working on. It is responsible for Star Wars Jedi: Survivor, which has “generally favorable” reviews according to aggregator Metacritic.

“As we’ve looked at Respawn’s portfolio over the past few months, what’s clear is that the games our players love the most are Jedi and Respawn’s rich library of brands,” he said.

“It’s always difficult to walk away from a project, and this decision is not a reflection of the team’s talent, tenacity, or passion for the game.”

More layoffs
It’s the latest round of cuts to hit the gaming industry, which in January saw Microsoft unveil plans to lay off 1,900 people in its gaming division, including some at recently acquired Activision-Blizzard.

And it comes just two days after Sony announced plans to lay off 900 staff, as well as close its famed London Studio.

“The impact of mass layoffs resonates deeply in the gaming community, especially for the talented individuals affected,” said Sarah Stevens, head of gaming HR firm e-volveHR.

“Above all, humanity and kindness are the most important ingredients for those navigating these turbulent waters.”

Karol Severin, senior analyst at Midia Research, said the latest cuts show how competition is intensifying in the gaming industry.

“This is not to say that the industry is in trouble, it’s just entering a new, more mature, chapter in its life – a chapter where efficiency, profitability and competitiveness are the name of the game.

“The gaming industry is still a $223bn (£176bn) industry, and will grow by another $78bn by 2030”, he said.

“For context, that’s more than the current size of the entire global recorded music industry.”

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