Microsoft has laid off approximately 1,900 employees across Xbox, Bethesda and Activision Blizzard. The layoffs come a few months after Microsoft completed its $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard and successfully integrated the Call of Duty publisher into its long list of gaming company buyouts. Microsoft’s head of gaming, Phil Spencer, says he had to make a “painful decision” with this latest move.
A message was recently sent to staff at Microsoft (obtained by IGN), which confirmed that 1,900 employees were suddenly let go from the tech giant’s divisions including Xbox, Starfield publisher Bethesda and its newest addition to the Xbox family, Activision Blizzard. Spencer says Microsoft will provide “full support to those who are impacted during the transition, including severance benefits informed by local employment laws.”
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The email from Phil Spencer issued to Microsoft employees reads:
“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 1,900 roles out of the 22,000 people on our team,” Spencer added. “The Gaming Leadership Team and I are committed to navigating this process as thoughtfully as possible.”
Microsoft confirmed that the most impacted companies include Xbox, Zenimax and Activision Blizzard King. Spencer says terminated employees will be given severance benefits.
“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,” said Spencer. “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.”
Earlier this week, Riot Games laid off around 530 employees and closed its third-party publishing label. Just this morning, TMNT: The Last Ronin and Destroy All Humans! studio Black Forest Games announced that it had cut around 50% of its workforce.