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Microsoft Lays Off 1,900 Employees From Activision Blizzard And Xbox

Microsoft is cutting 1,900 jobs at Xbox and Activision Blizzard this week. The Verge reports that those affected are primarily at Activision Blizzard, but the decision also impacts Xbox and ZeniMax.

This recent decision affects around 8 percent of the workforce, as Microsoft employs approximately 22,000 people in video games.

An internal memo from Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer confirms the layoffs happening at Microsoft.

Here’s Spencer’s memo sent out to employees:

“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. The Gaming Leadership Team and I are committed to navigating this process as thoughtfully as possible. The people who are directly impacted by these reductions have all played an important part in the success of Activision Blizzard, ZeniMax and the Xbox teams, and they should be proud of everything they’ve accomplished here. We are grateful for all of the creativity, passion and dedication they have brought to our games, our players and our colleagues. We will provide our full support to those who are impacted during the transition, including severance benefits informed by local employment laws. Those whose roles will be impacted will be notified, and we ask that you please treat your departing colleagues with the respect and compassion that is consistent with our values.

“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. 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.“Phil.”

Blizzard’s president, Mike Ybarra, is also leaving the company. “To the Blizzard community: I also want to let you all know today is my last day at Blizzard. Leading Blizzard through an incredible time, being part of the team, and shaping it for the future ahead was an absolute honor. Having already spent 20+ years at Microsoft and with the acquisition of Activision Blizzard behind us, it’s time for me to (once again) become Blizzard’s biggest fan from the outside,” said Ybarra on Twitter. “To all of those impacted today – I am always available to you and understand how challenging today’s news is. My heart is with each one of you.”

Blizzard’s chief design officer, Allen Adham, is leaving the company. “As many of you know, Mike previously spent more than 20 years at Microsoft. Now that he has seen the acquisition through as Blizzard’s president, he has decided to leave the company,” said Matt Booty to internal staff.

A new president at Blizzard is expected to be named in the coming weeks.

An unannounced survival project has been cancelled due to the layoff with some of the affected  “shifting some of the people working on it to one of several promising new projects Blizzard has in the early stages of development.”

2024 has already seen thousands of layoffs across the industry as Riot, Unity, Twitch, and others announced redundancies.

Microsoft finished its $68.7 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard in October, and Bobby Kotick has since stepped down.

These cuts come just one week after the Developer Direct showcase held by Xbox, where it previewed Obsidian’s Avowed, Ninja Theory’s Hellblade 2, MachineGames’ Indiana Jones and the Great Circle,  and Oxide Games’ Ara: History Untold.