Microsoft is laying off 1,900 workers, making up almost 9% of the company’s gaming division. According to an internal memo from Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer shared via CNBC, the layoffs were part of a plan to cut down on “areas of overlap,” after Microsoft acquired Activision Blizzard for $69 billion. Microsoft first sought to acquire Activision Blizzard, which develops the ‘Call of Duty’ and ‘Diablo’ franchises, as well as ‘Candy Crush Saga’ through its mobile gaming subsidiary King, in January 2022, however, the acquisition was put on hold until late last year as it faced scrutiny from regulators in the United States and Britain.
Spencer’s memo read: “We have made the painful decision to reduce the size of our gaming workforce by approximately 1900 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.” Spencer added that Microsoft would “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.”
In addition to the layoffs, former Blizzard president Mike Ybarra announced Thursday on X Thursday that he is leaving Microsoft and Blizzard: “I want to thank everyone who is impacted today for their meaningful contributions to their teams, to Blizzard, and to players’ lives. It’s an incredibly hard day and my energy and support will be focused on all those amazing individuals impacted – this is in no way a reflection on your amazing work. If there’s anything I can help with, connections, recommendations, etc., DM me.”
Microsoft’s game and studios president Matt Booty said in an internal memo that Ybarra decided to leave the company now that he has “seen the acquisition through as Blizzard’s president,” and a new Blizzard president would be named next week. Booty also said that Allen Adham, Blizzard’s chief design officer, has also left the company: “Allen has had a broad impact on all of Blizzard’s games. His influence will be felt for years to come, both directly and indirectly as Allen plans to continue mentoring young designers across the industry.”
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