According to multiple reports, EA (Electronic Arts) has fired the entire staff of over 300 quality assurance testers who worked on Apex Legends in Baton Rouge, California. People were reportedly released via a Zoom call and had to leave right after.
The news of the mass layoffs apparently came as a shock not only to contractors but also to the full-time supervisors, who were not informed of the layoffs in advance and had no time to prepare in any way. Apparently, those affected were only allowed to take personal belongings out of the office under the supervision of the security service. They are said to be getting 60 days’ severance pay, but that doesn’t cover the length of many employees’ contracts.
Mass layoffs at Electronic Arts
Some current and former testers shared the news of the mass layoff on Twitter. The QA testers were invited to an unscheduled, mandatory Zoom meeting with Magnit Global, their contracting agency, and encouraged to join from their personal smartphone or computer. Then the entire QA team in the Los Angeles office was dissolved.
EA just fired its entire Baton Rouge studio, which is essentially their entire Apex Legends QA staff.
— Ben (@TopMarx420) February 28, 2023
What consequences will this have for Apex?
This extremely spontaneous departure of Apex testers could well have consequences for the game, possibly even a drop in quality. Bugs and glitches have always been a plague in Apex, and the quality testers have at least made sure they don’t get out of hand. Many people worry that the change in operations could affect the quality of testing in the near future because the Baton Rouge team has gained a lot of experience over the past few years and is now simply gone.
February has been a rough month for Apex fans. Earlier this month, EA and Respawn quietly discontinued a single-player game set in the Apex universe and also announced that they will be retiring Apex Legends Mobile after less than a year.
— Kotaku (@Kotaku) February 28, 2023
Layoffs in the esports and gaming industry
These layoffs at Apex’s quality assurance departments are the latest in what feels like a never-ending wave of layoffs and downsizing across the esports and tech industries. The current shaky economy is constantly given as the reason for this. This year, big companies like Microsoft and Riot Games have already made large-scale layoffs, as have esports organizations, which have hired various teams and sacked employees.
Last year, the FIFA and Madden publisher also significantly reduced its customer service teams in Austin, TX. This work was then outsourced to suppliers in Europe and India. We can assume that we will read more news of this kind in the future.