While Andrew Wilson didn’t confirm the news directly, several EA staffers confirmed to Gamedaily.biz that the CEO, along with other executives, declined a performance bonus for the 2019 fiscal year. Instead, that money went into a bonus pool intended to be distributed among employees all across the company.
Back in 2018, Wilson apparently received a bonus of $2.5 million. While it’s unknown how much he was due to receive, it appears as though he didn’t accept any part of it. It’s also apparently the second such move made by an EA exec in the past year. When Patrick Söderlund left the company in 2018, he took a $20 million bonus (meant to convince him to stay, evidently) and put it into a similar pool. This was supposedly meant to help EA hire more talent, among other things.
This situation can be compared to what happened over at Activision-Blizzard. The Call of Duty publisher laid off almost 800 employees back in February 2019, despite having what CEO Bobby Kotick called “the best year in our history.” This lead to a petition calling for Kotick’s removal.
Of course, the move doesn’t completely absolve Wilson, either. While it was nowhere near the numbers of Activision-Blizzard, EA recently cut around 350 jobs. Despite declining a bonus, he’s still raking in millions as part of his regular salary. Regarding the layoffs, Wilson said, “it’s the hardest decision you make as a leader,” and that it was a decision “made for the longevity of an organization.” However, he did note that “I don’t think there’s anything I can say that makes it feel better for any of the people that are impacted in the process.”
Wilson’s actions come off of what has been a pretty rough moment for EA as a whole. Battlefield V didn’t take off as expected, and Anthem stumbled heavily out of the starting gate. Even EA’s golden goose of the moment, Apex Legends, has seen a bit of a slowdown. And despite Wilson’s defense of them, EA’s use of loot boxes (or rather, “surprise mechanics”) continues to be a point of contention.
All eyes are on EA, however at it will release its first single-player Star Wars game, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, later in 2019. We shall see if the tide will turn for the mega publisher anytime soon.