EA announces layoffs at F1 developer Codemasters ‘to meet evolving business needs and priorities’

2023 isn’t over yet, and neither are the game industry layoffs that have been such an ugly hallmark of the year. Electronic Arts has confirmed with IGN that it has laid off an unspecified number of employees from Codemasters, the developer of the Grid, F1, and EA Sports WRC racing games.

“Our business is constantly changing as we strive to deliver amazing games and services that keep our players engaged, connected, and inspired,” an EA rep said. “At times, this requires the company to make small-scale organizational changes that align our teams and resources to meet evolving business needs and priorities. We continue to work closely with those affected by these changes, providing appropriate support throughout this process.”

Electronic Arts acquired Codemasters in 2021 for $1.2 billion in hopes the publisher would become  “the home of racing games.” Codemasters is certainly one of the foremost racing game specialists in the business—one of its earliest games was Grand Prix Simulator, released in 1987, and in the years since then it’s found success with the TOCA and Colin McRae Rally series, as well as a long string of officially licensed F1 games. Since the EA buyout, it’s produced a trio of well-received racers: F1 23, EA Sports WRC, and Need for Speed: Unbound, on which it collaborated with Criterion. But apparently that critical success didn’t translate into sales numbers sufficient to keep everyone employed.

This isn’t the first time Electronic Arts has pared back Codemasters. In November 2022, less than a year after acquiring the studio, it halted development of the planned next game in the Project Cars series. EA said at the time that it was dropping Project Cars, a high-fidelity racing simulator, in order to focus on “areas where we believe we have the strongest opportunity to create experiences that fans will love.” In EA’s estimation, that included “licensed IP and open-world experiences, and expanding our franchises to be more socially-led with long-term live services that will engage global communities.”

It’s been a very bad year for workers in the videogame industry, who have faced layoffs from studios of all sizes at an alarming rate. Embracer Group, which had laid off an estimated 900 employees and closed multiple studios as of mid-November, is probably the worst example, but Electronic Arts, Take-Two, CD Projekt, Epic Games, and various others have all made significant staffing cuts in 2023, as have larger tech firms Meta, Google, Amazon, and Unity.

Electronic Arts declined to comment further on the Codemasters layoffs: In response to an inquiry, it directed me to the statement shared with IGN.

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