EA Cancels Star Wars Game, Plans Layoffs Amid Industry Shift

Electronic Arts (EA) is scrapping an upcoming Star Wars game and preparing to lay off 5% of its global workforce, approximately 670 employees. The cancelled game, which was in its early development stage, was intended to be a first-person shooter set in the expansive Star Wars universe.

According to EA, this restructuring aims to “deliver deeper, more connected experiences for fans,” marking the company’s latest response to the ongoing wave of job cuts sweeping the gaming industry. Rich Barham, a former executive at Blizzard, expressed concern about the impact of widespread layoffs on the industry’s talent pool and long-term viability.

In December 2023, EA announced layoffs at UK developer Codemasters, recognised for titles like F1 23 and EA Sports WRC. CEO Andrew Wilson informed staff via letter about the impending redundancies, which are expected to be finalised by summer. Wilson emphasised the company’s strategic shift towards developing fewer new titles and focusing on its established intellectual properties, sports games, and online communities.

Laura Miele, EA’s entertainment head, explained that this realignment led to the cancellation of the upcoming Star Wars project being developed by subsidiary Respawn Entertainment, known for Star Wars Jedi: Survivor. While acknowledging the team’s talent and dedication, Miele underscored the difficult decision to discontinue the project.

The gaming industry witnessed a series of layoffs in January, including Microsoft’s plan to cut 1,900 jobs in its gaming division and Sony’s announcement to axe 900 staff members and close its renowned London Studio. Sarah Stevens, from gaming HR firm e-volveHR, emphasised the importance of empathy and support for affected individuals amidst the industry’s turbulent landscape.

Karol Severin, senior analyst at Midia Research, interpreted the recent cuts as indicative of intensifying competition within the gaming sector. Despite the challenges, Severin remains optimistic about the industry’s future growth potential, projecting a substantial increase in revenue by 2030, surpassing the current scale of the global recorded music industry.

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