In an article today on the Destructoid Blog, it was reported that EA has asked all business units, specifically including EA Mythic and their Redwood Shores Studio to "Align costs with revenue". It's been reported that some of the remaining UO staffers have already been let go, effective Thursday. More cuts are expected through attrition, "performance management," and layoffs according to the article.
This is a major problem when a big company like EA purchases smaller studios which then become business units. If the whole of the business is suffering, then the smaller business units have to bear some of the pain, whether the shortfalls are theirs or not. Ironic that this comes on the heels of the suspension of the Warhammer beta until December and the announcement from the head of Mythic that (paraphrased) "EA has been a great partner, and hasn't meddled in our business." Hope you got the new memo, man. The rules have changed. Again.
This is becoming more and more of a pattern, as major publishing houses get their camel's noses under the tent, and before you know it, the whole damn camel is inside there with you. I'm predicting that the "publishing" relationship that SOE has for the upcoming Pirates MMO is a precursor to SOE eventually owning the IP. You read it here first. Well maybe not first, but most recently.
Is there any chance that a major MMO can come to market any more without the involvement of SOE (customer? fuck you.), MS (It's over budget, cancel it), NCSoft (Auto Assault and Tabula Rasa; are you fucking kidding me?), Blizzard (Sorry, we're too busy printing money to make any more MMO at the moment. Maybe after Starcraft II is entrenched we can think about it), or EA (Hmm, can we make John Madden into an MMO?)? There have to be more ways than these to get a salable product to market.
I sure as hell hope so. And to those displaced by this most recent display of poor business acumen in the MMO business, my heart goes out to you. You guys are some of the best people I have ever met and you deserve better. Maybe some day you will get treated correctly and have the stability and creative influence you deserve.
Best to all of you.