New year, more layoffs in the video game industry, sadly.
Can we hit the reset button?
The video game industry continues to be hit with layoffs despite companies seeing massive amounts of profit and games selling like hotcakes.
Microsoft is the latest company to take an axe to its workforce, laying off 1,900 employees from Activision Blizzard and Xbox. The Verge reports that most of the layoffs will affect roles at Activision Blizzard, and these cuts will also impact some employees at Xbox and ZeniMax.
The 1,900 layoffs will account for 8% of Microsoft’s gaming division’s 22,000 employees.
The website obtained an internal memo from Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer confirming the horrible news.
Per The Verge:
It’s been a little over three months since the Activision, Blizzard, and King teams joined Microsoft. As we move forward in 2024, the leadership of Microsoft Gaming and Activision Blizzard is committed to aligning on a strategy and an execution plan with a sustainable cost structure that will support the whole of our growing business. Together, we’ve set priorities, identified areas of overlap, and ensured that we’re all aligned on the best opportunities for growth.
As part of this process, we have made the painful decision to reduce the size of our gaming workforce by approximately 1900 roles out of the 22,000 people on our team. The Gaming Leadership Team and I are committed to navigating this process as thoughtfully as possible.
The people who are directly impacted by these reductions have all played an important part in the success of Activision Blizzard, ZeniMax and the Xbox teams, and they should be proud of everything they’ve accomplished here. We are grateful for all of the creativity, passion and dedication they have brought to our games, our players and our colleagues. We will provide our full support to those who are impacted during the transition, including severance benefits informed by local employment laws. Those whose roles will be impacted will be notified, and we ask that you please treat your departing colleagues with the respect and compassion that is consistent with our values.
Looking ahead, we’ll continue to invest in areas that will grow our business and support our strategy of bringing more games to more players around the world. Although this is a difficult moment for our team, I’m as confident as ever in your ability to create and nurture the games, stories and worlds that bring players together.
Blizzard president Mike Ybarra Is Also Bouncing
Among the 1,900 will also be Blizzard president Mike Ybarra, who did his best impression of the Spongebob “might imma head out” meme.
“As many of you know, Mike previously spent more than 20 years at Microsoft. Now that he has seen the acquisition through as Blizzard’s president, he has decided to leave the company,” Microsoft’s game content and studios president, Matt Booty, said in an internal memo.
Also leaving is Allen Adham, Blizzard’s chief design officer.
Booty adds, “As one of Blizzard’s cofounders, Allen has had a broad impact on all of Blizzard’s games. His influence will be felt for years to come, both directly and indirectly, as Allen plans to continue mentoring young designers across the industry.”
The Verge has also reported that a game Blizzard has been working on for over six years has also been canceled. Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier says the name of the game was Odyssey.
Schreier notes that Activision Blizzard employees are reaching out to him to learn their fate and waiting to see if they are among the 1,900.
Social Media Reactions To The Layoffs
As expected, the news of the layoffs is not landing well on X, formerly Twitter, with reactions pouring in from those involved in the gaming industry.
Kinda Funny’s Andy Cortez perfectly summed up in one post on X how these layoffs can affect the future of the video game industry.
“You’re a student in game dev school. You’re reading about Microsoft laying off 1,900 people after buying Activision Blizzard. You just read about more Embracer layoffs from yesterday. Nearly 6,000 games industry workers are jobless so far this year. It is still January,” Cortez said.
The frightening trend, which saw an estimated 10,500 game industry workers in 2023, is currently on pace to match or smash that number. Video Games Chronicle reports over 5,000 workers will lose their jobs in 2024.
You can see more reactions to Microsoft layoffs in the gallery below.
1,900 Activision Blizzard and Xbox Employees Laid Off By Microsoft, X Reacts was originally published on hiphopwired.com