EA to shut Vancouver's Black Box studio

A week after cancelling plans to expand its presence in British Columbia, video-game giant Electronic Arts. Inc. announced Friday morning it would further contract, closing downtown Vancouver's Black Box studio and revealing plans for more layoffs.

Video-game maker says studio to move to company's Burnaby-based facility

A week after cancelling plans to expand its presence in British Columbia, video-game giant Electronic Arts. Inc. announced Friday morning it would further contract, closing downtown Vancouver's Black Box studio and revealing plans for more layoffs.

Operations for EA Black Box will be moved to the company's EA Canada studio in Burnaby, B.C., the company announced. EA Black Box, best known for making the Need for Speed series of video games, employs about 400 people, while EA Canada's studio houses about 1,400 employees.

Colin Macrae, a spokesman for EA Canada, said the Black Box studio and brand would continue, but would move to Burnaby as part of the company's worldwide consolidation. He said the move should be complete by mid-2009.

EA also announced Friday that it was upping the number of layoffs it expected to complete by the end of March from six per cent of the total workforce to 10 per cent, or about 1,000 employees.

Macrae would not comment on the specific number of employees expected to be laid off at Black Box or any of its regional locations in Canada.

EA also owns another in Montreal and runs the Edmonton-based Bioware studio. EA bought Bioware earlier this year.

The company said it was planning on closing at least nine studio and publishing locations, although Black Box was the only location named in the release.

EA said it expects the restructuring plans will result in annual cost savings of $120 million US and restructuring charges of approximately $55 million to $65 million over the next several quarters.

The announcements come a week after EA said it was cancelling plans to open a new studio in Vancouver and after the company lowered its expectation for revenue and earnings for the 2009 fiscal year.