EA Shutters Original Maxis Studio on Eve of SimCity Anniversary

electronic arts 2015-03-05

Publisher Electronic Arts has closed down the original Maxis studio behind the SimCity and The Sims video game franchises.

“Today we are consolidating Maxis IP development to our studios in Redwood Shores, Salt Lake City, Helsinki and Melbourne locations as we close our Emeryville location,” read an EA press release. “All employees impacted by the changes today will be given opportunities to explore other positions within the Maxis studios and throughout EA. For those that are leaving the company, we are working to ensure the best possible transition with separation packages and career assistance.”

Guillaume Pierre, a Maxis employee, was the first to break the news, tweeting “it’s time to turn off the lights and put the key under the door. #RIPMaxisEmeryville”

Barry Tingle, another Maxis staffer, wrote that it “was a rocky ride with SimCity but an honor to work with you these past 2 years”, to which Pierre replied, “We certainly did the best out of a difficult and weird situation.”

SimCity fans need not worry—”The small team tasked with keeping SimCity running (including myself) have all accepted positions to continue and develop SimCity at EAHQ”, wrote Barry Tingle in another tweet.

Maxis was founded in 1987 by Will Wright and Jeff Braun, and went on to develop popular simulation games, first under the SimCity series, and then under The Sims series. EA acquired the studio in 1997, and later created a new studio, The Sims Studio, to handle The Sims games.

Maxis Emeryville most recently developed the 2013 SimCity reboot, which was poorly received. EA has shuttered the studio the day before that game’s second anniversary.

Dimi Gronnings


With over ten years' experience as an editor, Dimi is Niche Gamer's Managing Editor. He has indefinitely put a legal career on hold in favor of a life of video games: priorities.

  1. Domhnall
    March 4, 2015 at 9:45 pm

    I wonder how much money overall EA has spent on companies that they turn around and close a few years later due to poor sales and even poorer reputation. It’s hard to believe that yearly FIFA releases can make up for that kind of cash loss.

  2. Dammage
    March 4, 2015 at 10:22 pm

    I bet Respawn is next up on the chopping block and I bet if ME4 dosen’t sell well Bioware is going down too.

    But hey, gotta get all those microtransactions, DLC, always online, ect into there, that’s totally not the issue.

  3. alternatesteve2
    March 4, 2015 at 10:27 pm

    Farewell, Maxis/Emeryville. Y’all gave us a great time for 25+ years, and I’ll always remember SimCity for the fun game series that it was, especially the first 4 games(2000 was my first!). =)

  4. sanic
    March 4, 2015 at 10:27 pm

    What studios does EA have left?

  5. DanTheMan
    March 4, 2015 at 10:43 pm

    Yet another casualty added to the enormous pile of studios chewed up and spat out by EA. Too much scatter-shot marketing and bad design decision after another to be a sustainable business practice for very long, yet EA defies all expectations, somehow.

    Well, one day that luck will run out and EA will shut it’s doors. It almost happened once and will likely happen again if they continue in the same direction.

  6. ArsenicSpritzer
    March 4, 2015 at 10:55 pm

    EA guts another talented studio and the industry yawns in outrage. Pathetic that we’ve allowed these vultures to run roughshod over some of the most talented groups of artists that the industry will ever know without any significant protest. And the result …? … another legend bites the dust.

    It makes me embarrassed to belong to a community that has allowed this kind of rampant abuse to gone on for as long as it has.

  7. Neojames82
    March 4, 2015 at 11:44 pm

    That’s because soccer is extremely popular almost every country and no other series has topped FIFA. Same with Madden, though more so that they have exclusivity with the NFL.

  8. Rafael
    March 5, 2015 at 4:00 am

    Sega and now Maxis. I predict a lot more games companies will be shifting focus out of the SFC bay area over the next couple of years as well.

  9. Speed Racer
    Speed Racer
    March 5, 2015 at 4:43 am

    EA the seth rollins of the video games

  10. pekikuubik
    March 5, 2015 at 5:49 am

    EA doesn’t own Respawn.

  11. eltonBorges
    March 5, 2015 at 6:29 am

    Frankly, if a game company needs to be bought by EA, they better close their doors already. It’s over.

  12. 100% noob
    100% noob
    March 5, 2015 at 7:23 am

    I feel as if EA is the one company that needs to shut themselves down for having tainted gaming the way that they have, because at this point, it’s not the studio’s fault that the game has failed but more so the way that EA is destroying the studio just by buying them out and corrupting it from their horrible business choices.

  13. PenguinPlayer
    March 5, 2015 at 7:29 am

    It’s not, they had to close studios and sell buildings to break even last year, sooner or later they’re going to run out of things to close down or sell.

  14. Game Guy
    Game Guy
    March 5, 2015 at 8:45 am

    I wish EA would learn their lesson and stop buying companies. It never ever goes well for either party

  15. JackDandy
    March 5, 2015 at 10:01 am

    Dun dun dun
    Another one bites the dust

  16. inquisitormcsagington
    March 7, 2015 at 11:10 am

    Although depressing, to be honest with ourselves,Maxis was a stumbling rotted corpse of a studio, EA’s black veins writhing in it’s decayed flesh, begging for death.
    Hopefully it can now rest easy, alongside Bullfrog and Westwood.