EA’s Earner leaving for Accel

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By Kathleen De Vere Comment

EA Playfish’s John Earner, general manager and vice president of London studios, has left the company to join Accel Partners where he will be an entrepreneur in residence, according to TechCrunch. Earner joined Playfish in 2008 and lead the company through product development for hit social games like Pet Society, Restaurant City, FIFA Superstars and The Sims Social.

The move is just the latest in series of high-profile executive departures at EA. Earlier in the month EA lost Barry Cottle, its EVP of EA Interactive to Zynga and with Earner’s departure most of Playfish’s original executive staff have now moved on to other ventures. In March of 2011, two of Playfish’s co-founders, Sebastien de Halleux and Sami Lababidi left EA, leaving only one Playfish co-founder, Kristian Segerstale on staff. Segerstale is now EA’s EVP of digital, a job he acquired after Cottle’s departure.

Earner’s move is also likely to be a blow to EA’s social gaming plans. Earner was instrumental in Playfish’s early success as the product manager behind Pet Society and Restaurant City — Facebook hits that convinced EA to get into the social games business when it acquired Playfish in 2009 in a deal worth up to $400 million. Earner also lead the development of the Sims Social, EA’s biggest Facebook hit to date. According to our traffic tracking service AppData, The Sims Social has more than 22 million monthly active users, down from its peak of more than 66 million MAU, but still enough to make it the fifth most popular social game on the network. It unknown at this time how Earner’s departure will affect EA’s planned Sims Social expansion.

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