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Microsoft fires 1,900 Activision Blizzard and Xbox staff.

Microsoft is firing 1,900 game employees three months after acquiring Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion. Gaming accounts for 8.6% of the 22,000 Microsoft workers. Now that the deal is complete, Blizzard president Mike Ybarra will resign.

“I want to thank everyone who is impacted today for their meaningful contributions to their teams, to Blizzard, and to players’ lives,” Ybarra stated on X. This is not a comment on your excellent work, but it’s a terribly hard day, and my energy and support will be focused on all those beautiful people touched.

The Verge acquired an internal document from Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer that described the layoffs as “an execution plan with a sustainable cost structure” that “identified areas of overlap” following the purchase. Microsoft emailed Eltrys to verify The Verge’s message.

“We will provide our full support to those who are impacted during the transition, including severance benefits informed by local employment laws,” Spencer’s memo states. “Those whose roles will be affected will be notified, and please treat your departing colleagues with respect and compassion in line with our values.”

Already in its first few weeks, this year has been cruel for gaming. Riot Games fired off 530 employees, Unity 1,800 (25% of the firm), Discord 170 (17%), and Amazon-owned Twitch 500 (35%), after having let off hundreds of staff in two waves last year.

Developer and consultant Rami Ismail estimates 5,600 gaming jobs will be cut in 2024. That accounts for over half of the 2023 gaming layoffs.

Other internet businesses, like Google, Amazon, TikTok, and others, have slashed jobs. But 2023 tech layoff data suggests January is the worst month for layoffs.

In recent years, the Activision and Microsoft divisions founded some of the nation’s first gaming unions.

“With a union, employers are required to negotiate over the impact of layoffs,” the Communications Workers of America told Eltrys. “We are heartbroken that so many dedicated and talented video game workers will be disrupted by these cuts, even though CWA-represented members at Zenimax, Raven, and Blizzard Albany will not be affected.”

Juliet P.
Author: Juliet P.

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