Electronic Arts closes Pandemic Studios

Electronic Arts has reportedly shuttered Pandemic Studios and laid off 200 employees. Although a “core” IP team was shiftted to EA’s Los Angeles office, a number of top employees were let go, including former CEO Andrew Goldman, Josh Resnick and Greg Borrud.

“I want to make it clear that the Pandemic brand and franchises will live on,” Nick Earl, EA Games Label Senior Vice President, wrote in an internal memo obtained by Kotaku. “This type of change can be difficult. But the situation calls for us to act decisively, to take control of our destiny and to run a stronger, more focused development operation. That’s how we will continue to make great games in our LA studios.”

However, Earl emphasized that EA would continue to “announce plans” for new games based on the Pandemic franchise.

Pandemic – formed in 1998 – was later acquired by Electronic Arts in 2007. The studio designed numerous popular action games, including Full Spectrum Warrior, Mercenaries and Star Wars: Battlefront.

Unfortunately, EA’s decision to close Pandemic Studios was not entirely unexpected. As TG Daily previously reported, senior EA producer Richard Hilleman recently stated that the video game industry has experienced a significant demographic shift, with casual and social gamers outnumbering their hard core counterparts.

Hilleman – who made his remarks at Hot Chips 2009 – explained that platforms such as the iPhone and Wii have contributed to the rise of the casual gamer. Various MMOS’s, including World of Warcraft (WoW) have also impacted the playing field.

According to Hilleman, casual gamers have little interest in spending huge sums of money on custom rigs and instead choose to purchase netbooks or notebooks.??

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