EA cancels all live competitive events, asks staff to work from home

By Emily Gera, Sunday, 15 March 2020 21:28 GMT

EA is the latest game company to begin limiting social gatherings to “fight this pandemic”.

In a post on its official website, EA confirmed all live game events will be postponed until “the global coronavirus situation improves.”

Events immediately affected include Apex Legends Global Series, FIFA 20 Global Series, FIFA Online 4 Live, and Madden NFL 20 Championship Series. Online events, where participants and staff will work remotely, will still take place as planned.

“This has been an unprecedented few days in an already unprecedented time,” says EA in the post. “As the world works to limit the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, a sweeping set of societal and cultural changes are now impacting all of our daily lives. We’d like to take a moment to update all of you on what we’re doing at Electronic Arts to ensure the health and wellbeing of our employees, while also making sure that everyone is able to keep playing their favorite games.”

“As we take these steps for our Electronic Arts employees, we’re also very focused on minimizing any potential for disruption to our players. We are confident in our continuity plans. We don’t anticipate major changes in our games or services as a result of our teams working from home, but we’re learning through this process as well and patience will be key. We’re constantly talking and working with our teams across the world to evolve with the situation.

“These are challenging times for everyone. We’re working to look after our employees and their families, and make sure we’re doing the right and responsible things to fight this pandemic illness. We have amazing technology teams that are making it possible for all of this to happen, and we’re deeply thankful. We now have thousands of employees that have taken equipment to their homes so we can keep our games and services running, and continue working on new projects. We may be doing it from our homes around the world, but we’re doing everything we can to be here for you.”

EA also joins a growing number of game developers asking staff to work from home. Earlier today Rockstar confirmed its development team will begin working remotely “[i]n the interest of reducing the possible impact of COVID-19”. Both Bungie and Microsoft announced their remote-work plans last week.

According to EA, the company is “strongly recommending” all employees throughout North America, Europe, and Australia work remotely until April 1 “to help limit potential exposure to coronavirus and minimise the social spread of the illness”.

“Since January, we’ve had a global taskforce closely monitoring the evolving situation with coronavirus and working daily to respond to the changing needs of our people in real time. We’ve been constantly assessing the risk of exposure in the regions where we have offices, guided by the recommendations from local and federal health authorities, and the information we’re getting from our own teams.

“In Asia, we’ve worked in accordance with regional health and government guidance. We previously closed our locations in Shanghai, Singapore, and Seoul, as well as our Milan office, with teams working from home. As the situation stabilizes in Shanghai and Singapore, our teams are now returning to work in line with guidance from regional health officials. Our locations in Seoul and Milan remain closed, with those teams continuing to work remotely.”

The post continues: “Many of these sites, including our Redwood Shores headquarters, were already giving employees the option to work from home, and now is the time for greater measures. We will only have very limited staff for business-critical functions at these sites — everyone else will be working remotely. Our senior leaders, site leaders and IT teams have been working together to help us prepare for this.

“We’ve also taken steps to ensure that the vendors and contractors that provide services on-site at our facilities will continue to be paid, even if they’re not able to work from home in their roles.”

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