| SAN FRANCISCO, April 11
SAN FRANCISCO, April 11 Videogame publisher
Electronic Arts has begun laying off staff at its
Montreal game studio in its latest round of jobs cuts, less than
a month after former Chief Executive John Riccitiello abruptly
The company, known for its "FIFA" and "Sims" games, declined
to divulge the number of jobs affected, or how many employees it
has in Montreal, where it has developed console games like "Army
"EA is sharpening its focus to provide games for new
platforms and mobile. In some cases, this involves reducing team
sizes as we evolve into a more efficient organization," the
Redwood City, California-based company said in a statement.
The Montreal studio, which includes a team that makes mobile
games, is not closing, a spokesman said. He declined to say
which teams within the studio had been affected by the job cuts.
The layoffs come shortly after John Riccitiello stepped down
as CEO on March 30, after taking responsibility for missed
Former CEO and Chairman Larry Probst has been appointed
executive chairman as the company begins its search for the next
EA and rivals like Activision Blizzard Inc have
seen growth fall off sharply as more gamers flock to free games
on social networks or on mobile devices. The biggest traditional
games publishers have tried to buy startups, reorganize existing
studios and invest in mobile platforms but face intense
competition from entrenched players like Rovio or Zynga Inc
EA has been reorganizing studios to embrace new game
platforms and adapt to consumer behavior. Last year, EA's PopCap
unit, which makes social and mobile games, laid off 50 of about
380 staff members in its Seattle and Vancouver studios to focus
on free-to-play social and mobile games.
The game publisher is also preparing to adopt the
next-generation video game console technology in its games.
Consumers are holding back from buying hardware and software as
they wait for next-generation versions of Sony Corp's
PlayStation and Microsoft Corp's Xbox, expected
later this year.
Shares of EA edged higher in extended trading after closing
at $17.63 on Nasdaq.