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(Jim Urquhart | Tribune file photo) Jon Dean executive producer at Electronic Arts, left, and Utah Governor Gary Herbert play Monopoly Streets Wednesday, July 21, 2010 at Electronic Arts in Salt Lake City. The video game studio that worked on the popular “The Sims” PC games and other family-based titles, has laid off part of its staff to focus on mobile gaming, it was announced Thursday, Jan. 30, 2014. Gaming publisher Electronic Arts, headquartered in Redwood Shores, Calif., confirmed the restructuring of the studio but would not say how many employees were let go
EA Salt Lake lays off part of staff

Video games » Gaming studio shuts down part of studio to focus on mobile gaming.

First Published Jan 30 2014 04:13 pm • Last Updated Jan 31 2014 05:11 pm

Electronic Arts Salt Lake, the video game studio that worked on the popular "The Sims" PC games and other family-based titles, has laid off part of its staff to focus on mobile gaming.

Gaming publisher Electronic Arts, headquartered in Redwood Shores, Calif., confirmed the restructuring of the studio but would not say how many employees were let go.

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"EA Salt Lake is becoming largely focused on mobile development, including ‘The Sims’ and other projects," the publisher said Thursday in a statement. "Recent shifts unfortunately resulted in the reduction of a few teams. As we look to match skills with opportunities, some staff will be offered other positions at EA, while others will leave the company."

Gaming website, IGN.com, reported Thursday that 35 employees had been laid off and another 40 were transferred to EA’s gaming studio, Maxis, in California.

"I hope we’ll see some new startups rise — that’s a talented group of people there," said Jon Dean, the former head of EA Salt Lake who has now formed his own independent gaming studio in Utah. "They’re smart and they could easily do their own thing."

EA Salt Lake, which is located in downtown Salt Lake City, was formed in 2010 after Electronic Arts acquired local game developer, Headgate, which made the Tiger Woods golf game and Madden football game for the PC.

After it opened, EA Salt Lake made PC expansion packs for the PC version of "The Sims" as well as games based on Hasbro licenses such as "Hasbro Family Game Night," "Risk" and "Monopoly Streets."

The studio had been shifting its focus to mobile gaming after revenues in that sector began to grow for EA. EA’s mobile and handheld digital net revenue generated $125 million in the third fiscal quarter of 2014, according to EA’s quarterly results released earlier this week, a 26 percent year-over-year increase over the same period for fiscal 2013.

vince@sltrib.com

Twitter: @ohmytech


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