In the latest round of layoffs to hit the gaming industry, 1,900 people from Microsoft’s video game division will be cut from the company. In a new memo sent to staff (via IGN), Xbox head Phil Spencer spoke about “the painful decision” to reduce the number of people in the Microsoft video game workforce, while also pledging to “fully support” those people affected with severance benefits. GameSpot has reached out to Microsoft, and the company has confirmed that the memo is accurate.
“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,” Spencer wrote. “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.”
Microsoft was finally able to close its $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard in 2023. These types of moves often lead to some layoffs due to the “overlap” referred to by Spencer, although it’s unclear what portion of the 1,900 layoffs are attributable to that. This figure amounts to almost 9% of all Xbox employees.
The one specific individual we know who will no longer be with the company is Mike Ybarra, Blizzard’s president, who shared the news on Twitter/X. According to The Verge, Blizzard’s previously announced survival game has also been canceled as a result of these layoffs.
I want to thank everyone who is impacted today for their meaningful contributions to their teams, to Blizzard, and to players’ lives. It’s an incredibly hard day and my energy and support will be focused on all those amazing individuals impacted – this is in no way a reflection…
— Mike Ybarra 🎄 (@Qwik) January 25, 2024
Layoffs have been felt throughout the gaming industry lately, as despite 2023 being a massive year for blockbuster video game releases, companies across the globe have been cutting jobs.
This week alone, THQ Nordic and Embracer subsidiary Black Forest Games reportedly cut 50% of its workforce, Outriders developer People Can Fly is set to lose 30 employees, and in the wake of Riot laying off 530 employees, its publishing label Riot Forge has been shut down.