EA has shut down Maxis Emeryville, the developers behind games like SimCity, The Sims, and Spore. The first news broke from a tweet by long time Maxis staff member Guillaume Pierre mentioning: “Well it was a fun 12 years, but it’s time to turn off the lights and put the key under the door. #RIPMaxisEmeryville.”
The decision may have stemmed from the problems SimCity faced at launch, and poor sales numbers from The Sims 4 in comparison to its predecessors. SimCity was plagued with many issues during its launch, such as being unable to connect to servers in an “always online” game. The Sims 4 on the other hand, performed way below EA’s expectations seeing as The Sims 3 sold 1.4 million copies in its first week, in comparison to The Sims 4’s 1.3 million four months after its release in January 2015.
EA will be consolidating development of both SimCity and Sims games to their studios at Redwood Shores, and have commented that they will be laying off “a handful of people” from the Sims team. The full statement can be read here:
Today we are consolidating Maxis IP development to our studios in Redwood Shores, Salt Lake City, Helsinki and Melbourne locations as we close our Emeryville location. Maxis continues to support and develop new experiences for current Sims and SimCity players, while expanding our franchises to new platforms and developing new cross-platform IP.
These changes do not impact our plans for The Sims. Players will continue to see rich new experiences in The Sims 4, with our first expansion pack coming soon along with a full slate of additional updates and content in the pipeline.
All employees impacted by the changes today will be given opportunities to explore other positions within the Maxis studios and throughout EA. For those that are leaving the company, we are working to ensure the best possible transition with separation packages and career assistance.
Maxis was founded in 1987 by SimCity creator Will Wright, and was acquired by EA in 2000. The Sims has been one of EA’s most successful franchises, so this bit of news comes as quite a surprise to us all. Here’s hoping the Maxis Emeryville team is given proper treatment during their transition.