Microsoft Announces Massive Layoffs Following Industry-Wide Job Cuts
Throughout the day, we have received news of layoffs affecting key players in the gaming industry, with Black Forest Games, the developer of Destroy All Humans, and People Can Fly, the creator of Outriders, both facing significant job cuts, totaling nearly 100 positions between the two companies. Additionally, Riot Games recently announced extensive layoffs, impacting over 500 employees (approximately 11% of its total workforce). However, despite more than 600 job losses in the industry this week alone, Microsoft has just disclosed its own round of substantial layoffs.
The colossal conglomerate, currently the world’s most valuable company (valued at over 30 trillion Swedish kronor), has revealed that its Microsoft Gaming division is issuing layoff notices to 1,900 employees. The majority of these job cuts are anticipated to come from the Activision Blizzard family, where many roles may already be duplicated within Microsoft since the merger. However, employees from Xbox and ZeniMax will also be affected.
According to reports from The Verge, an internal memo circulated by Microsoft Gaming head Phil Spencer explains that these layoffs are a consequence of Microsoft integrating Activision Blizzard into the Xbox family. The memo also assures that those affected will receive support and severance packages in accordance with local labor laws. Nevertheless, this provides only marginal consolation for the 8% of Microsoft Gaming personnel (previously 22,000 employees) who are now facing termination.
This massive restructuring appears to have a profound impact on Blizzard as well. Mike Ybarra, the head of Blizzard, who ironically had previously worked in the Xbox division, has announced his departure from the company. This development means that the California-based studio is now in the process of searching for a new leader, with more details expected to be disclosed next week.
Blizzard is also losing its Chief Designer and co-founder, Allen Adham. Additionally, the previously announced survival game that Blizzard had been working on since 2017 has been canceled, leading employees associated with this project to be reassigned to other projects within Blizzard.
The repercussions of these layoffs on Xbox Game Studios and ZeniMax remain unclear at this time. However, given the magnitude of this announcement, it is likely that we will revisit and delve deeper into this matter as more information becomes available.
Source: The Verge