A recent SEC filing has revealed that a few of EA's top executives are turning down some hefty bonuses in response to the company's lacking performance during the 2019 fiscal year. Instead, they are opting to place those funds, which amount to about $4.8 million, into a cash pool that is to be used for securing new hires, as well as benefiting current employees.
In a statement from the company, the bonuses were reportedly turned down "in order to maintain alignment with our pay-for-performance executive compensation philosophy."
While we are disappointed with our fiscal 2019 results, we understand the challenges we face, and we will continue to focus on how we can apply the strengths of our Company to capitalize on our opportunities
While the amounts that these executives stand to lose is likely negligible in terms of their own personal wealth (most of the named executives make at least half a million in yearly salary), the reason why it's noteworthy to those not a part of the 1% is because, despite the company's lacking performance, employees are benefitting by seeing that money reinvested in them.
This news comes during a tumultuous time in the gaming industry, with a palpable split between the corporate higher-ups and the employees in the trenches seemingly widening by the day over unionization, "crunch" culture, and an overall disparity between those who wield authority and those who do not. Many are fed up with the way employees of these gargantuan and morally vacant corporations are treating their workers, and its reached a point where even those determined to take refuge within the indifferent privilege of their ivory towers are being forced to take notice. Though, it's difficult to know for sure if these EA executives are acting in response to mounting pressure to try harder.
An artistic representation of Anthem's remaining player base
EA has seen a few high-profile disappointments during the 2019 fiscal year. They released a brand new IP with Bioware's Anthem - a game on track to never recover from its metaphorical face-plant, and franchise regulars such as Battlefield V that just aren't performing the way they used to. Despite those set-backs, it's refreshing to see the folks up at the top seemingly taking responsibility for misplaced expectations, and, at their own personal detriment, still rewarding developers for their efforts.
Though I'd like to leave off here on an optimistic note, my gut tells me that layoffs are still coming in the near future for EA. For a company that, as of 2018, employs over 9000 people, that $4.8 million is going to burn off rather quick - once again repeating the cycle of benefiting some at the expense of others.