The Fryer, Vol. 22
Electronic Arts fires final employee as "cost-cutting measure"
In an apparent effort to trim costs to the bone, Electronic Arts announced the firing of the last of its few remaining employees today.
Calling the move an "extreme cost-cutting measure," Electronic Arts CEO John Ricitiello said the decision was necessary for the company to stay competitive in today's difficult gaming market. "Despite increasing year-over-year sales, the shareholders felt our profits could stand to go a little higher," Ricitiello said at his final press conference as CEO. "To maximize profits, sometimes you have to make the tough decisions about where to cut costs. Rather than make those decisions, we just decided, 'Hey, why not get rid of the costs altogether?'"
EA has given the axe to its final employees, including CEO John Ricitiello.
Despite the lack of employees, Ricitiello insisted that Electronic Arts was not shutting down and that the company would continue to release products, somehow. "Year in and year out, new games always just seem to show up for popular EA franchises like Madden NFL, Need for Speed, Medal of Honor and Harry Potter," he said. "I don't see any reason why this wouldn't continue to happen even with these latest cutbacks."
After delivering his prepared remarks, Ricitiello refused to take questions, saying that the end of the press conference marked the end of his professional responsibilities for the company and, indeed, the end of the days when anyone at the company had any professional responsibilities.
Analysts had mixed feelings on the move. Wedbush Morgan's Michael Pachter was quick to point out that cutting out the employees also brings along other, collateral cost-cutting benefits. "With no employees, EA no longer needs to spend money on overhead like office buildings, computers, desks and Mountain Dew," he said. "While its revenue might take a slight hit, the upside is that any revenue that does come in will be pure profit, which is bound to help the company's bottom line."
But DFC Intelligence's David Cole said cutting the workforce so drastically was bound to be bad for employee morale. "Put yourself in one of those employees' shoes," he said. "You've been working at this company for years, perhaps decades, and suddenly you and everyone you work with are fired in an effort to please the shareholders. How is that going to make you feel? Are you really going to be as productive for the company after they hit you with something like that?"
Local game store surprised, saddened over failure of Pop'n Music midnight launch event
Tuesday's much-publicized midnight launch event for the Nintendo Wii rhythm game Pop'n Music was much lower than expected, according to local GameDingo store manager James McFadden. An estimated "two or three people" came out for the event, McFadden said, and "two of them were just asking for directions to GameStop."
The event, which had been advertised heavily around town via fliers and sidewalk chalk, was the result of some careful market analysis by McFadden. "I noticed that rhythm games have been selling like hotcakes for years now," he said shortly after closing up the shop at 12:05 a.m. Tuesday morning, "so I figured that people would want to get their hands on this new one as soon as possible. Plus it's on the Wii, which everyone and their mother has, so I just figured there would be a lot of interest. Guess not..."
The midnight Pop'n Music sale at GameDingo was overshadowed by the release of Modern Warfare 2.
McFadden said the low turnout was even more depressing because of the special arrangement he had to set up with his distributor to pull it off. "When I called up my supply guy last month asking if he could sneak me some copies of Pop'n Music to be ready for midnight on launch day, he acted kind of confused," McFadden said. "I thought he had to put up a front because these kinds of early shipments aren't exactly 'by the book,' so I told him I'd pay extra to get the early shipment. They sent me a whole truckful! What am I gonna do with 2,000 copies of Pop'n Music?"
While McFadden said he briefly considered including Activision's Modern Warfare 2, which also came out Tuesday, to the midnight launch event, he eventually decided focusing on Pop'n Music would help him stand out from the crowd. "I figured every other store in the area would be selling Modern Warfare 2 at midnight," McFadden said, "and that they'd all cannibalize each others' business. Meanwhile, I'd be the only place in the quad-state area to be offering Pop'n Music before regular store hours, cornering the Japanese rhythm-game market. It looks like I succeeded, I guess..."
Mindy Potemkin, who waited outside for two hours to ensure she was among the first people to buy Pop'n Music, said she appreciated McFadden's efforts. "I've been looking forward to this game ever since I read about it on the JapRhyMesBoards months ago," she said, referring to a popular Japanese rhythm-game message board that claims roughly a dozen members. "I just couldn't believe there was a local store offering this game at midnight. If I had any friends, I'd definitely tell them to shop here."
Nintendo announces "ultra-portable" DSi XS
It seems the DSi XL wasn't the only size-changing hardware announcement Nintendo had up its sleeve. Today, the company announced the new DSi XS (for extra-small), a device the company is calling "the world's first ultra-portable portable system," would be hitting store shelves in the coming months.
Nintendo president Satoru Iwata says the company was inspired by the computer industry's trend toward smaller netbooks replacing bulky laptops. "Yes, the current DS systems are already small enough to fit into a pocket or a pocketbook," he said at a press event announcing the system. "But not everyone wears clothes with pockets. Not everyone carries pocketbooks. We wanted to give these gamers a device so small they could wear it as an earring, or slip it under the laces of their shoes."
Nintendo's DSi XS will fit in your shoe.
Measuring roughly one inch by two inches (when unfolded) and weighing in at a mere five ounces, the DSi XS still somehow manages to fit all the hardware that powers its larger DS cousins, as well as two half-inch screens. The device even has a specially designed stylus "no bigger than a pin" for "precise manipulation of the tiny touch-screen," Iwata said. Each box will also come with a free pair of magnifying glasses and a bottle of diazepam to "calm the shakes" that could lead to inaccurate input.
When asked how they were able to fit the DS hardware into such a tiny case, a Nintendo spokesman told the Fryer it "definitely didn't involve the help of magical elves, if that's what you're implying."
Since existing DS game cards won't fit in the new XS machine, Nintendo will be following the lead of Sony's PSP Go in focusing the machine on downloadable content from the company's DSiWare store. Nintendo said it was busy converting the existing library of hundreds of DS games into the downloadable format, and that the entire library should be available by mid-2016.
Editor's note: These stories are 100-percent satire. Yes, Kyle Orland made it all up.