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Microsoft lays off 1,900 staff from its video game division

Exact departments affected remain unclear, as the story develops

Indiana Jones and the Great Circle
Image credit: Microsoft/Bethesda/MachineGames

Microsoft is reportedly laying off 1,900 staff from its gaming division. If true, this would mark 5,800 reported layoffs in the video game industry in January alone.

This news was first broken by IGN, which claims to have been shown a memo from Xbox boss Phil Spencer. While it is currently unclear which exact teams within its gaming departments have been affected, this internal memo states that those being laid off "have all played an important part in the success of Activision Blizzard, ZeniMax and the Xbox teams".

The full memo published by IGN can be read below:

“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.

Microsoft, which only finalised the acquisition of Activision Blizzard King in October of last year, also laid off staff within its tech division in January of 2023.

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