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EA fires more than 200 Apex Legends QA testers over Zoom call

Three sources recently informed the video game website Kotaku that Electronic Arts laid off over 200 QA testers working at its office in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, during an abrupt Zoom call on Tuesday.

Those QA staff primarily focused on the company’s smash-hit battle royale, Apex Legends, developed by Respawn Studios.

The three sources, who were affected by the move, said that all testers at the site had been let go, even though some had just ended their night shifts earlier in the day.

The same three anonymous people — who were not allowed to talk to the press — said that the QA testers received an email from their contracting company, Magnit Global, that said, “SITE CLOSED – Please join Zoom Meeting at 8 am CST.”

These staff members were strongly urged to join the call immediately using their computers or smartphones. The source said the call, which she “wouldn’t even call a speech,” lasted five minutes.

Per the source’s statement, they were told not to record, send chat messages, speak on the mic, turn on the camera or do anything else. They were “there to listen.”

Lisa Campbell, a spokesperson for EA, confirmed that the company would no longer undertake testing at the Baton Rouge site but did not say how many employees had been affected.

Campbell said that as part of its ongoing global strategy, the company was broadening the spread of its “Apex Legends testing team and ending testing execution in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.” Therefore, the decision would impact services offered by their third-party provider.

She added that their worldwide workforce includes remote playtesters across the United States. This system allows them to expand the number of hours per week they can test and optimize the game.

Despite the controversy, Campbell said the decision represents a dedication to understanding and better serving their increasing global audience.

QA staff layoffs

The Baton Rouge office had previously provided QA assistance for various EA-published games. It started with Apex Legends before its surprise release in 2019.

Regarding the recent firing, the laid-off workers and the permanent managers were caught off guard by this news.

A former employee said they had spoken to their bosses, full-time EA employees, and not Magnit contractors. Those managers “had no idea this was happening.”

Considering the Baton Rouge team’s experience and training over the last few years, several current and former testers are worried that the quick operational transition may soon impair testing quality.

Previously, the Apex Legends mobile spin-off and an unreleased Battlefield mobile game were canceled by EA a month before these layoffs.

According to a source, there were indications that the mass firing had been planned for months. It was reported that EA, not Respawn, was responsible for the layoffs. Per sources, the laid-off employees will receive 60 days of severance compensation, even though their contracts expire in August.

Previously, Industrial Toys — the team behind Battlefield mobile — was acquired by EA in 2018 and was subsequently shut down, resulting in mass layoffs.

In May 2022, many Electronic Arts’ Austin-based customer care employees were let go. The company said third-party firms in Romania and India would take over customer care services, which included assisting users with microtransactions and fixing compromised accounts.