Looks like Blizzard may be doing a little belt tightening too. They are expanding their employee buyout program. There are rumors the financial group is getting more involved in the day to day operations. More at the article below.
I had a buddy that worked for EA and one that worked for Sony as developers. Back in the day I was pretty involved in the MMORPG scene and got to know a lot of the developers both professionally and personally and saw this many times. One could say that I was an insider, hell I worked as online in game support for Ultima Online for years back when Origin was a development studio and not the EA game store, so here's how it works from a insiders perspective.
I've been around this stuff longer than most of the EA Game Changers today have been alive hahaha.
1) Company X gets an idea for a new game or a continuation of an established franchise.
(a) The company starts making sales predictions vs cost analysis estimates and including these predictions in the earnings estimate for the next year or two.
(b) Investors evaluate the sales vs costs estimates and hand over buckets of money if everything jives.
2) Company X lays on a bunch of developers and begins production
(a) Everything financially is pretty quiet during this time unless the studio burns through cash at an alarming rate.
3) Development concludes but the hires for the product are retained because well game launches are hard and whatnot and something more like many things have to be fixed/tweaked.
(a) ALL the developers know the layoff axe will be coming soon. This is why you see so many devs burn those crazy hours during this crunch time hoping that they dont have to look for a job or get shifted to another project.
(b) Investors / Publishers that own the development studios tell the heads of the studios to start making the cut list.
4) Once game XYZ is stable the first wave of layoffs takes place. The media reacts the same way: "OMG Company X just released a game but is laying off all the developers... THE GAME?COMPANY is failing!!!!"
(a) No one at these companies pay any attention to this as they understand this is just part of the churn involved in the game development arena. as do the investors.
(b) The laid off developers move to other companies/or are moved to other projects within the same studio/company.
(c) This is usually where DICE LA starts working on the BF titles and things like the CTE Program take off.
5) The retained developers produce DLC / Expansion packs for the next 6-12 months and when the majority of that work is done its time for layoff round 2. The obligatory, "OMG !! WTF?!? LOLCopter" train begins.
(a) This is usually when the planning for the next product / version of the franchise starts.
(b) In relation to BF this is when DICE LA takes over full time for content development / polishing everything up
6) Everything settles down until the next game / franchise expansion comes around. Rinse / Repeat.
This is how its functioned for like forever. Its business as usual. I've seen a LOT of coverage in relation to BF:V not selling as expected. I also have noticed that none of them have taken into account that these are physical copies sales numbers ONLY. I haven't purchased the game as I have the Premier Pass on Origin so I play the game for a monthly fee however I only did this to try the game before buying. I dig the game so I will probably buy it and turn off the Origin pass.
Even with the restatement of the earnings estimates this week, they reduced it by 350 million or so, the earnings for EA are still estimated at like 5.2 billion, with a B. If the loot box scandal didn't kill them this surely won't. Honestly this will be a minor blip on the radar when the big picture is looked at.
Just ready the article. I looked at what departments are getting the offers, which have been in place for CS people for years, with stuff moving more to cloud based solutions I can see not needing a huge IT staff and other areas are being rolled into other groups / end user groups such as the CTE in the case of DICE so yeah. It's good that they are offering parachutes to folks to help them transition to other areas/ new job skills. If one of the mega publishers was truly in dire straights they would just lay these folks off not offer voluntary separation packages which according the the press releases around 10 whole people have actually accepted.
I would expect that if the company was truly in danger / hurting that badly a LOT more of the rats would be abandoning ship and taking the cheddar with them.