Electronic Arts has conducted a new round of mass layoffs. The entire testing team at the Baton Rouge, Louisiana office that worked on Apex Legends has reportedly been disbanded. And none of the QA workers knew about it in advance.
- Kotaku broke the news on February 28, citing three sources familiar with the matter. All testers affected by the layoffs were invited to join a Zoom meeting on Monday at 8am CST with their contracting agency Magnit Global.
- According to an email, obtained by KSLA News, the agency said the call was mandatory and asked testers to “not report to the office and feel free to take this meeting on your personal phone/computer.”
- As a result, the entire QA team at the Baton Rouge office was disbanded. Contracts with many testers were reportedly still in force.
- Electronic Arts didn’t inform any of the employees in advance. Even full-time supervisors knew nothing about the unexpected layoffs.
- QA testers were allowed to collect their personal belongings from the office, but only under the supervision of security.
- The publisher said those affected will be provided with 60 days severance pay.
What do Apex Legends testers have to say?
- Several current and former testers also shared the news about the layoffs on Twitter. “EA just fired its entire Baton Rouge studio, which is essentially their entire Apex Legends QA staff,” one of them wrote, adding that EA has been “slowly hiring at studios elsewhere but none of those people have any experience with [Apex Legends].”
Nobody working as a “contractor” had a contract. They’re contractors bc EA had a contract with ProUnlimited who hired QA staff in a contractless positions in a right to work state. 3 month “contract” length, extendable to a year, 3 contracts max. This is industry standard for QA.
— Ben (@TopMarx420) February 28, 2023
- “EA explain why I lost my job to be replaced by the people we trained,” another user said.
- “We were told to bring personal items home last week in case they brought a cleaning crew in for our off days. they were just trying to get us to bring our stuff home without breaking the news.” user @pissonchris noted.
we were told to bring personal items home last week in case they brought a cleaning crew in for our off days. they were just trying to get us to bring our stuff home without breaking the news. https://t.co/DhrF6QgYoz
— big ‘ol boy (@pissonchris) February 28, 2023
- One former employee told KSLA News that the call was five-minute long, and people invited to it couldn’t be on mic or camera and were not allowed to record it: “The man just said if people were just joining he would repeat himself, he repeated himself and then ended the call.”
Did Electronic Arts comment on the layoffs?
- A publisher spokesperson told Kotaku that the company has decided to end testing execution in Baton Rouge. It will distribute this process across its other offices “as part of our ongoing global strategy.”
- EA added that this decision will allow it to “increase the hours per week we’re able to test and optimize the game.”
The Baton Rouge office has long been the capital of Electronic Arts’ quality assurance department. The team provided QA support for many games, but shifted their focus to Apex Legends prior to its 2019 launch.
Some employees are afraid that the layoffs would affect the quality of testing in the near future, especially given the experience the Baton Rouge team had with Apex Legends.