EA closes Japan studio

EA closes Japan studio
Michael French

By Michael French

February 8th 2007 at 9:30AM

Internal development has been halted at EA's Japan office, according to reports on internet today. UPDATE: EA has confimed the closure, but says development still continues in the region via EA Partners.

Speaking to Next-Gen.biz, EA has confirmed the closure, saying the company was "consolidating its development teams in Japan. Game creation in Japan will continue under our EA Partners model, working with external Japanese developers.

"Japan-based development for the NDS - Theme ParkDS, Sim CityDS, DragonZakuraDS - will continue under EA Partners in collaboration with external developers. Each of these titles remains in our release plans. EA's publishing team in Japan will continue to publish many of our popular franchises in that market."

Earlier today, a report on 1UP cited an anonymous EA Japan employee as saying production has stopped and studio staff let go.

1UP quotes its source as saying: "When we were developing for the 360 and PS3 and things weren't going smoothly, I had my worries - but ever since we switched our focus to the Nintendo DS, things seemed to be going well.

"After almost three years in existence, the only game to come out of EA Japan was Theme Park DS, which only took about a half-year to develop since it was a port. So, yeah, that wasn't a great track record.

"I think this closure is also as a result of the Japanese market not being as exciting compared to the possibilities for growth in China and other parts of Asia."

Last year, EA closed its North West studio in the UK, leaving it with one centralised based in the UK at Guildford, while at the same time purchasing other studios in Europe and the US.

The company has others in the pipeline for the Japanese market, namely a DS version of Sim City and a Wii version of The Sims - but they are being developed at EA Redwood Shores