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UPDATED: Microsoft Studios hit by lay-offs as former staffers tweet confirmation

Thursday, 3rd April 2014 11:47 GMT By Dave Cook

Microsoft Studios appears to have let go of a number of staffers, as confirmed by tweets from some of the affected. It’s unclear why these employees have been let go, or how many people have been made redundant, but something seems to be going on.

UPDATE: contacting VG247, a Microsoft representative said of the lay-offs, “At Xbox, our goal is to constantly create new fun, social and interactive entertainment experiences. As part of our commitment to this goal, we are always evaluating our development priorities, and there are times when decisions need to be made to realign plans and refocus our efforts.

“Microsoft Studios continues to grow as an overall organization as we focus and invest in key priority areas that will drive future profitable growth.ā€

ORIGINAL STORY: It follows the promotion of Phil Spcener as the head of Microsoft’s Xbox division.

Neowin reports that several Microsoft Studios employees received word on April 2, that they would no longer be working for the company.

Artist Patrick Loughman was one of them:

Technical producer at Microsoft Studios, Elbert Perez was also let go, but confirmed he is now working on a Kickstarter project:

We’ve contacted Microsoft for details. Stay tuned.

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19 Comments

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  1. Dragon

    So now Microsoft is Do0o0o0o0o0o0o0o0o00oo0o0o0o0o0med too.
    All abroad the dooooom train.

    #1 4 months ago
  2. Erthazus

    I think Phil Spencer is super serious about gaming for it’s platform.

    #2 4 months ago
  3. tezzer1985

    People who clam doom cause of layoffs are really misinformed, but it’s not their fault as Gaming sites don’t educate their readers on the nature of why layoff happen within gaming, instead they post it as flame bait, just like they do when they post fan boyish story’s, it’s just to fuel a reaction from their readers.

    Just cause Sony & MS lay people off, doesn’t mean they are not making great games & services. These layoffs happen because they are losing money in areas that they feel, will not bring a return on investment, so they shift the resources to areas that they feel will deliver on the investment. I feel sorry for the people who have lost jobs, but let’s face it having MS on your CV doesn’t hinder your chances of finding work.

    Unlike other sectors that suffer layoffs, and people struggle to find work.

    #3 4 months ago
  4. Gheritt White

    @Erthazus I agree, but will it be enough to compensate for the XB1′s inferior hardware components? The differences between the XB1 and PS4 will only increase as time goes by and I’m not convinced that they won’t be able to prevent Sony from gaining a significant lead.

    #4 4 months ago
  5. Joe Musashi

    Maybe the recent Sony-related refugees will nestle at Microsoft. I’m sure Phil Harrison will welcome them with open arms. :)

    Change is healthy. I’d rather see a company adapt than not.

    Good luck to all seeking new roles.

    JM

    #5 4 months ago
  6. KAP

    No one is immune to lay offs, Sony, Microsoft etc etc

    @5

    Former Sony staff and former Microsoft staff, I don’t think they will be fussed what camp they get a job in, just as long they have one.

    #6 4 months ago
  7. jmg24bad

    Oh yes :) . This gone be good!

    #7 4 months ago
  8. Luciferous

    I just for once would like the press release to be straight forward and honest.

    ‘We laid-off some guys because we didn’t need them any more… or they were terrible at their jobs.’

    #8 4 months ago
  9. Francis O

    @tezzer1985

    Don’t try to damage control layoffs.

    It’s never good when a company lays off staff. It can damage moral of the team, and even make games the people let go on worse! Look at what happened with Castlevania Lords of Shadow 2, the team when through to many switches and lay offs…..couple that with a crazy game director, and it was a disaster. We all know MS doesn’t make any money off the Xbox Brand….they can only hide the billions of dollars for so long in Android patents.

    MS as a company is fine…but the Xbox Division is hurting…..otherwise they wouldn’t let go of the staff members making less than 60K a year….MS is a multibillion dollar conglomerate.

    #9 4 months ago
  10. TheWulf

    It’s crap that all those people lost a stable pay cheque, but in the process they might become small development houses of their own, who’ll create genuinely interesting things. There are times when I really hate the idea of firing someone just because they’re no longer needed, but when it comes to the faceless corporations, it might turn around into a good thing. I just think of all of that bundled up creative energy, now set free.

    With, say, Double Fine though the lay-offs would only happen if Tim started running out of money. Where’d I get that information? Tim himself. He hates letting people go, it really bothers him, and he really loves being surrounded by an indie dev commune of boundless creativity. I think he’s invested more in sustaining that than he is in making money. There’s so much creativity floating around Double Fine that I’d be sad to see anyone leave that environment.

    Still, it does suck that they’re losing a reliable pay cheque, since I’m sure many of these people will have obligations and families to support. Hopefully they’ll find their way, and that that way will be right for them.

    Good luck, ladies and gents, be well, and hopefully make the things you want to make.

    #10 4 months ago
  11. Kreion

    @Francis O

    How incorrect can you be? the Xbox division of MS does turn a profit, if it consistently failed to do so it would have been scrapped long ago. A company the size of MS in much more likely to reshuffle its staff than a smaller company, so right now we don’t know the state of the Xbox division. Especially since all this is happening after they got a new head, who was always likely to fire some staff and hire others, depending on where he wants the Xbox division to aim towards.

    Also, this isn’t really comparable to Castlevania 2′s situation…this is the driving force behind an entire console, not behind any particular game.

    #11 4 months ago
  12. ddtd

    @Francis O By your logic, then I guess Playstation isn’t doing well because of their layoffs?

    #12 4 months ago
  13. salarta

    … What the hell is wrong with people here? Layoffs are not something to cover up and try to distract people from with talk about how “it’s really a positive sign because they’re willing to change” or “companies with layoffs still make great games.” Who gives a fuck about whether or not the company can still make good games in this situation? We’re talking about human beings not being able to continue financially supporting themselves until they find work elsewhere or get re-hired by Microsoft.

    Now yes, there are a lot of very important details we don’t know about these layoffs. For example, two of the people laid off that got quoted in this article appear to see their layoffs as a chance to work on other projects, and maybe that’s true for everyone that got laid off. Alternately, maybe some people got laid off because they weren’t doing their jobs, and this is nicer than firing them. There are a lot of possible reasons why the layoffs were understandable, but at no point is “hey, this company just made a bunch of people have to hope they find work elsewhere so they can continue living” a time to sing the praises of Microsoft’s supposed greatness.

    #13 4 months ago
  14. Joe Musashi

    @13 That’s cute. Have you been on this planet long?

    JM

    #14 4 months ago
  15. Gheritt White

    @Joe Musashi He’s never worked in software… unlike the people who just got laid off.

    What’s the old saying? If you’ve not been made redundant or lost a girl/boyfriend to the job, you’ve never worked in videogames ;)

    #15 4 months ago
  16. dtyk

    @Kreion I’m not trying to be a dick here, but the division as a whole haven’t made a single dollar “yet”. Getting into a new hardware business is very expensive, and Xbox is still very young compared to playstation or the nintendo line of products.

    http://metro.co.uk/2014/02/11/investors-call-for-microsoft-to-abandon-xbox-4299255/

    #16 4 months ago
  17. antraxsuicide

    @dtyk You’re correct in a way, but the breakdown is anything but bleak. (I’ll find links for my points if you ask, but I’ll have to dig. I’ve used them before, but it’s buried in some Word Doc XD)

    The original Xbox set MS back by about $10B. That initial cost is, as of last summer, down to $2.8B. What that translates to is the 360 was cutting their investment by over a billion dollars a year. And that’s with a billion lost to RROD. If the X1 is half as successful as the 360 (and it’s selling at a profit, and at twice the rate), then MS will be done with their original investment in a few years at most.

    @Francis O
    MS consoles have the highest attach rate of any system, they’ve charged for online for a decade, they get the most 3rd party royalties (because 3rd parties sell better on Xbox), they sell the most 1st party software (Mario beats them, but that’s about it). If you really think MS isn’t making money on the Xbox, then you must therefore think that this entire industry is failing.

    #17 4 months ago
  18. dtyk

    @antraxsuicide No I actually think the Xbox division is going to turn in strong profits in about 5 years. If you look at the graph in the link I attached, the division is now in the black if you look on a year to year basis. However, it’s a simple fact that the division is only close to breaking even since its conception as of 2014.

    Anyone saying that the division overall is a profitable business right now is delusional. It will be at least another 5 years before they are out of the red, given that they don’t pull another RROD.

    #18 4 months ago
  19. Dragon

    @dtyk,
    Important thing is that the “entertainment division” of MS doesn’t exist anymore. Its combined with devices division, housing failures like surface and soon will include erstwhile nokia too.
    Its difficult to gauge the state of Xbox division as of now.

    @antraxsuicide,
    You would do well to avoid Francis, he runs a nintendo troll site.

    #19 4 months ago