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Topic: EA Australia Studio, FireMonkeys, Hit with Massive Layoffs -...
Steve Farrelly
AusGamers Editor
Posts: 8035
Location: Sydney, New South Wales

Kotaku is reporting that EA has began a round of massive layoffs at Melbourne-based studio, FireMonkeys. The report suggests that up to 80 or 100 people may have been let go in a development studio allegedly housing some 200-odd personnel, though Kotaku states that these figures are not verified.

FireMonkeys was one of the largest mobile development studios in the country, and these layoffs come off the back of EA cancelling the studio's most recent project, Real Racing 4.
"No idea how certain tasks will be done at all if I look at who got let go."
One employee revealed to Kotaku under condition of anonymity. However, the site has had contact with an EA representative in the US who has refuted the number touted as being laid off, claiming that it's "off by more than half" and that the studio would continue to operate in an ongoing capacity.

FireMonkeys released the following statement on the situation:
The FireMonkeys studio is working on some of our most popular mobile games. We recently made a decision to shift teams to focus more on our live services, and have entered into a consultation period that may impact some roles in the studio. We’re working to match skills with opportunities as we go through this period, identifying other opportunities at EA, and providing as much help to our employees as we possibly can.
The full report over at Kotaku has more details from representatives of the Game Workers Unite Australia group as well as other sources.

Our thoughts are with those affected by the situation.

Update: Since posting this piece, Game Workers Unite Australia has sent through an email with the following information:
Game Workers Unite Australia is saddened and frustrated by Electronic Arts’ recent decision to lay off a substantial portion of the FireMonkeys workforce.

Although EA’s official statement says that the decision "may impact some roles", GWU Australia understands that up to a quarter of the studio, some 40 to 50 people, have been notified of possible redundancies.

A layoff of this magnitude would represent a loss of almost 5% of the entire Australian game development industry nationwide.

This is a devastating blow to local development - an extraordinarily disappointing decision which will affect the already crowded local freelancer and indie market, as well as the undergraduate student body.

GWU Australia believes the only way to stop situations like this is for game developers to stand together and collectively bargain for a workplace which treats them with the respect they deserve.

By joining a union and standing together, game workers can not only have a say in policies like hiring and firing or ensuring fair standards of pay, but also negotiating superior redundancy packages that far exceed the legal requirements.

Unions across Australia assist workers in these kinds of negotiations every day. When workers are made redundant, unions contest false redundancies, make sure any entitlements are correctly paid out, and connect workers with a community of support.

GWU Australia’s main objective is to connect game workers with the union movement so they can empower and protect themselves at work. Existing unions like the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA) and Professionals Australia have already given their support to many game workers.

FireMonkeys employees can check what their redundancy payout should be based on their years of service by visiting the FairWork website. Any FireMonkeys staff who need assistance or have questions are urged to contact GWU Australia either by email (gwuaustralia@gmail.com) or by filling out our membership application form and joining us on our private Discord server.

Just as we saw earlier this month with Activision-Blizzard: having a profitable company or turning over a record year is no longer enough. Corporations always demand more, putting shareholders and executive bonuses ahead of their employees’ lives.

EA is profitable, but simply not “profitable enough” to keep its executive board and shareholders happy. And now the people at FireMonkeys have to pay the price for that.

The only way game workers can hope to change the industry is to stand together and unionise.


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trog
AGN Admin
Posts: 39742
Location: Other International

sadness

best of luck for those affected.
Darkhawk
Posts: 177
Location: Melbourne, Victoria

Learn to code.

Oh, wait...
Hogfather
Posts: 16907
Location: Cairns, Queensland

Learn to code.

Oh, wait...

Plenty of work for coders out there, just not in gaming.

You're also going to be light on work as a mechanic if you specialise in luxury vehicles and refuse to do other work. Unless you're a big name in the luxury vehicle mechanic field, that is.
trog
AGN Admin
Posts: 39751
Location: Other International

Unless you're a big name in the luxury vehicle mechanic field, that is.
Or unless you're in a union, apparently :D
notgreazy
Posts: 962
Location: Other International

The population of game workers is tiny! This comment from the union:
By joining a union and standing together, game workers can not only have a say in policies like hiring and firing or ensuring fair standards of pay, but also negotiating superior redundancy packages that far exceed the legal requirements.
Is really bad. Hey if ONLY you had joined up, this wouldn't have happened, you should join us!

If all these workers were part of the union, would it have made a different to their job status at all? If contracts are winding down and cuts need to be made, what's the union realistically going to do?
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