Microsoft Announces 1,900 Layoffs Across Activision Blizzard and Xbox Divisions

Xbox Activision Blizzard

Microsoft has recently announced a significant reduction in its gaming workforce, laying off approximately 1,900 employees across its Xbox, Activision Blizzard, and ZeniMax divisions. This decision comes in the wake of the company’s massive acquisitions in the gaming sector, including the $69 billion purchase of Activision Blizzard and the $7.5 billion acquisition of ZeniMax Media.

Key Highlights:

  • Approximately 1,900 Microsoft employees in the gaming divisions have been laid off.
  • The layoffs amount to about 8.6% of the 22,000 Microsoft gaming employees.
  • High-profile exits include Blizzard president Mike Ybarra and Blizzard founder Allen Adham.
  • The untitled Blizzard survival game, Odyssey, has been canceled.
  • These cuts follow Microsoft’s recent acquisitions of Activision Blizzard and ZeniMax Media.

Xbox Activision Blizzard

Background of the Layoffs

Microsoft’s decision to reduce its workforce is a strategic move to align its gaming divisions with a more sustainable cost structure. Phil Spencer, Microsoft Gaming CEO, emphasized that the layoffs were necessary to manage areas of overlap following the acquisitions. This restructuring is seen as a part of Microsoft’s broader strategy to streamline operations and focus on growth areas in the gaming sector.

Impact on the Gaming Industry

The gaming industry has experienced a wave of layoffs in recent years, with Microsoft’s recent cuts marking one of the largest single layoffs in the industry in 2024. Other major companies like Unity, Twitch, and Riot Games have also announced significant job cuts, reflecting a broader trend of reorganization in the tech and gaming industries.

Further Insights into the Layoffs

  • High-Profile Departures: Among the notable exits, Mike Ybarra, Blizzard’s President, and Allen Adham, a founding member of Blizzard, have stepped down from their roles.
  • Cancellation of Projects: The layoffs have led to the cancellation of major projects, such as Blizzard’s in-development survival game, Odyssey, which was anticipated to be a significant entry into a new genre for the company.
  • Strategic Alignment: Microsoft’s CEO of Gaming, Phil Spencer, has cited the need for a sustainable cost structure and the elimination of overlapping positions following the acquisitions as key reasons for the layoffs.

Statements from Company Leaders

Mike Ybarra, the departing president of Blizzard, expressed his gratitude towards the impacted employees for their contributions and dedication. Phil Spencer’s internal memo highlighted the importance of treating departing colleagues with respect and compassion, in line with Microsoft’s values. Severance benefits will be provided to those affected, in accordance with local employment laws.

Future Outlook

Despite the layoffs, Microsoft remains committed to investing in growth areas within its gaming divisions. The company plans to continue developing new games and expanding its reach to more players globally. This restructuring is part of a long-term vision to strengthen Microsoft’s position in the highly competitive gaming market.

Microsoft’s recent layoffs reflect a strategic move to streamline its gaming divisions post-acquisition. While this decision impacts a significant number of employees, it is seen as a necessary step in aligning the company’s gaming strategy with a sustainable cost structure. Microsoft aims to continue its focus on growth and innovation in the gaming industry, despite these challenging changes.

About the author

Jamie

Jamie Davidson

Jamie Davidson is the Marketing Communications Manager for Vast Conference, a meeting solution providing HD-audio, video conferencing with screen sharing, and a mobile app to easily and reliably get work done."