Report: EA abandons Vancouver studio plans

Canada's Globe and Mail says beleaguered publisher halts aims to build out 20,000-square-foot facility; cuts at Black Box, EA Canada already under way.

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Like so many other companies, Electronic Arts continues to face the cold, hard realities of an economic recession. The Globe and Mail reports this week that the publisher has decided not to proceed with plans to expand its operations in government-subsidy-rich Vancouver, Canada, due to sagging holiday sales in North America and Europe and overarching global economic instability.

EA reportedly entered planning stages for the 20,000-square-foot facility about a year ago, though the studio's purpose was not revealed. EA currently maintains two development outfits in the Vancouver area: EA Black Box, which develops the publisher's Need for Speed and Skate franchises, and EA Canada, home to top sellers such as the FIFA and NCAA sports simulations.

"These are challenging times, they're uncertain times for our industry and across the board," EA spokesman Colin Macrae told The Globe and Mail. "We continue to be firmly rooted in Vancouver." Macrae also confirmed that EA's Vancouver-based studios would see some staff reductions, though he declined to go into further detail.

On the back of a greater-than-expected $310 million loss during its second fiscal quarter, EA said in October that it would eliminate 6 percent of its workforce--or approximately 600 positions. Earlier this week, the publisher said that the current hostile market conditions will force its hand in executing another round of layoffs, as well as consolidating facilities and scaling back its SKU count next year.

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