New research reveals that an estimated 9,000 jobs were cut during gaming industry layoffs in 2023 alone. This year, despite releasing some of the best games in recent memory, will also go down as one of the worst years for the thousands of developers that lost their jobs during mass studio layoffs. The research arrives in light of TimeSplitters developer Free Radical Design officially shutting its doors and putting around 80 developers out of work just before the holiday season.
Game developer Farhan Noor, who had been keeping track of industry layoffs since the beginning of the year on the website videogamelayoffs.com, revealed that around 9,000 jobs were lost in the gaming industry this year. The five biggest companies with the most layoffs in 2023 include Unity (1,165), ByteDance (1,000), Embracer Group (964), Epic Games (830) and Amazon (715).
Other notable layoffs this year include Destiny developer Bungie, Dragon Age developer BioWare, PlayStation first-party studio Media Molecule, The Wolf Among Us studio Telltale Games, The Last of Us developer Naughty Dog, The Callisto Protocol maker Striking Distance Studios, Assassin’s Creed company Ubisoft, Worms publisher Team17, Pokemon GO developer Niantic, The Order: 1886 creators Ready at Dawn, Valorant studio Riot Games and Halo Infinite company 343 Industries, among many others.
Speaking to GamesIndustry.biz recently, industry consultant Serkan Toto commented on the mass layoffs:
“In gaming, the significance of ‘efficiency’ has risen dramatically over the last 18 months. There is a much higher sense of urgency now to save costs and run slimmer organisations. The pressure is on for game industry CEOs to pull out the hammer and handle the biggest cost block of them all, namely staff. And this is what we have seen in 2023. All this happens under a sense of ‘If we don’t do it, our competitors will and then eliminate us on efficiency,’ and people get fired left and right at the moment. There is also the phenomenon that often CEOs think 15% to 20% of their people are redundant anyway at any point in time.”
If what Toto is saying is true, then this isn’t the end of mass industry layoffs. We’ll likely see more job cuts continue to happen in 2024 and beyond as companies attempt to become more ‘efficient’ in development, though at the end of the day, these are still people working hard for a living who are being treated as nothing more than statistics and numbers.
Source: Video Games Chronicle