EA hands out pink slips in LA

60 programmers, designers, and managers laid off at Electronic Arts' SoCal operation; studio boss Neil Young calls the move "regrettable, unfortunate, and very necessary."

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Normally, it would be a good day to be an employee at Electronic Arts' Los Angeles studio. Despite reporting a slight dip in quarterly earnings yesterday, the publisher's stock shot through the roof today. It ended the day after gaining more than $5, reaching nearly $63 per share.

However, EALA's new general manager, Neil Young, turned what could have been a perfectly nice Wednesday into a major bummer. This morning, he announced that the studio was reducing its staff by 60. According to Young, who spoke with GameSpot this afternoon, the layoffs were done in the interest of "rebalancing the teams across the entire studio." He called the cuts the "first step in transforming the studio for the future."

Following the layoffs, the head count at the publisher's Los Angeles operation will drop below 400. In addition to the remaining 320 developers (down from 380), the facility houses a number of publishing staffers, EA's music division, and its mobile operation.

Although sources had told GameSpot that the teams behind the tepidly received GoldenEye: Rogue Agent and the nearly complete Medal of Honor: Dogs of War were hit hardest by the cuts, Young said cuts were across all franchises.

According to informed sources, the move is not part of a company-wide reduction of staff, but rather a "limited" move spearheaded by Young that affects only EALA. Young was recently named general manager of the studio following a tenure of less than a year as general manager of EA's Maxis studio, maker of The Sims.

GameSpot will update this breaking story as additional news becomes available.

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