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EA: Pandemic's California location 'significant' in decision to close studio

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EA CEO John Riccitiello claims there were multiple factors in the decision to shutter Pandemic Studios, but one of the most significant was the studio's California base of operations. In an interview with Kotaku, Riccitiello blamed a combination of regulatory changes that affect technology and entertainment companies in California, as well as the tax incentives offered in other countries as major factors in the company's decision. "For good or for bad, we are taking down headcount in California because it is really expensive," Riccitiello said.

Another factor in the decision is the rapid growth of digitally delivered titles and browser-based games, leading Riccitiello to believe that the industry is quickly moving away from a focus on "packaged" software. "In a world that used to be all PC, then used to be all console, now it's neither." Riccitiello's comments echo those of Square Enix boss Yoichi Wada, who recently advised publishers to prepare for the "exponential growth" of digital delivery and server-based games following the announcement the studio would restructure its Eidos London offices, resulting in layoffs.

Pandemic Studios' closure comes at an interesting time, as the announcement was made just weeks before the studio's final title: The Saboteur. However, Riccitiello reiterated that the company's brand and franchises will live on.

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