Microsoft slashes 1,900 jobs across Xbox and Activision Blizzard

2024 isn’t even a month away, and it’s already been a brutal year for workers in the video game industry. Microsoft It is the latest company to announce major layoffs in its gaming division as it cuts nearly 1,900 jobs. Xbox, Activision Blizzard and ZeniMax (aka Bethesda) teams. This brings the total number of video game layoffs this year already about 6,000. In all of 2023, nearly 9,000 jobs were cut in the industry, according to some estimates.

“As we move into 2024, Microsoft Gaming and Activision Blizzard management are committed to aligning our strategy and execution plan with a sustainable cost structure that will support our entire growing business. Together, we’ve set priorities, identified areas of overlap, and ensured we’re all aligned with the best opportunities for growth.” we did,” said Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer. The Verge. “As part of this process, we have made the painful decision to reduce the size of our gaming workforce by approximately 1,900 roles out of the 22,000 people on our team.”

Most of the layoffs are said to be within Activision Blizzard, three months after Microsoft closed its $68.9 billion purchase of the publisher. Some positions in the Xbox and ZeniMax teams will also be affected.

“All of the people directly affected by these cuts have been instrumental in the success of the Activision Blizzard, ZeniMax, and Xbox teams, and they should be proud of everything they’ve accomplished here,” Spencer wrote. “We are grateful for all the creativity, passion and dedication they bring to our games, players and colleagues. We will provide our full support to those affected during the transition, including severance benefits informed by local employment laws.”

Spencer added that Microsoft will “continue to invest in areas that will grow us and support our strategy to bring more games to more players around the world. While this is a difficult time for our team, I am confident, as always, for you. the ability to create and nurture the games, stories, and worlds that bring.”

The cuts equate to about eight percent of Microsoft’s gaming division. Engadget has reached out to the company for comment.

Among those who left the company, Blizzard president Mike Ybarra is reported to have left of his own accord. “I want to thank everyone affected today for their meaningful contributions to their teams, to Blizzard, and to the lives of players. This is an incredibly difficult day and my energy and support will go out to all those amazing individuals affected. You can’t reflect on your amazing work,” he said. Ybarra He wrote in X.

“To the Blizzard community: I also want to let you all know that today is my last day at Blizzard. It has been an absolute honor to lead Blizzard at an incredible time and to be part of the team shaping it for the future,” Ybarra continued. . “Having already spent 20+ years at Microsoft and the acquisition of Activision Blizzard, it’s time for me to (once again) be Blizzard’s biggest fan on the outside.”

Microsoft’s president of game content and studios, Matt Booty, is said to have told employees that the company plans to name a new Blizzard president next week, with publisher Allen Adham moving on.

Another important result of this reconstruction, according to The Verge, Blizzard’s survival game has been cancelled. The game would mark Blizzard’s entry into a new genre, but has not released any other details about the project since then. announced two years ago. According to Booty, some of the developers working on the survival game are being moved to “one of Blizzard’s several promising new projects in the early stages of development.”

Layoffs are common after major mergers, especially after senior executives have pinpointed areas of overlap. Often this is seen in positions on the corporate side such as marketing and human resources.

It’s the biggest layoff schedule in the gaming industry this year, topping 1,800 jobs. Unity leaves. Twitch and Controversy also lay off hundreds of people each. This week, Riot Games said so reducing the number of employees by approximately 530 people. Dead in daylight studio Behavior Interactive, Little Tina’s Wonderland developer Lost Boys Interactive and Outriders creator People Can Fly is also among the many game companies laying off jobs by 2024.

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