Microsoft Lays Off 1,900 Staff Across Xbox and Activision Blizzard

Himel Mahmud
By Himel Mahmud
5 Min Read
Credit: Microsoft

Microsoft’s head of gaming has announced that the company has decided to lay off 1,900 workers in its video game departments.

Tech giant Microsoft is laying off 1,900 of its 22,000 employees, most of them from its video game workforce. According to The Verge, Microsoft’s head of gaming Phil Spencer, has confirmed that most of the employees at Activision Blizzard will be laid off, and the cuts will also impact some employees from ZeniMax, Xbox, and Bethesda.

Microsoft acquired Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion in October after 20 months of legal battles with US and UK regulators. Bobby Kotick, the former CEO of Activision Blizzard, announced his resignation at the end of December.

However, Microsoft did not appoint a direct successor to Kotick, but Activision Blizzard employees are currently working for Matt Booty, the current Head of Xbox Game Studios at Microsoft.

Microsoft Acquired Activision Blizzard
Microsoft Acquired Activision Blizzard

The executives stated that the decision was made after Microsoft and Activision Blizzard leadership teams “identified areas of overlap, set priorities, and ensured that we’re all aligned on the best opportunities for growth.”

Read More: The Pokémon Company is Investigating Palworld

Microsoft Lying Off 1,900 Employees

Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer stated that the layoffs are part of a bigger ‘execution plan’ that will reduce the “areas of overlap,” and that the company will provide “full support to those who are impacted during the transition, including severance benefits informed by local employment laws.”

Here is Phil Spencer’s complete statement on the layoff:

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.

Phil Spencer, Microsoft’s Head of Gaming

Blizzard President Mike Ybarra, who previously worked at Microsoft, has announced on X that he will be leaving Microsoft and Blizzard. Because of these layoffs, Blizzard’s previously announced survival game, directed by Dan Hay, the former head of Ubisoft’s Far Cry franchise, has also been canceled. Allen Adham, the chief design officer and co-founder of Blizzard Entertainment, is also leaving the company.

Activision Blizzard is the developer and publisher of several massive gaming franchises, including Call of Duty, Crash Bandicoot, Guitar Hero, World of Warcraft, StarCraft, Diablo, Hearthstone, Overwatch, etc. In 2015, Activision Blizzard acquired social gaming company King, the creator of the viral mobile game Candy Crush Saga.

Earlier this week, Riot Games announced that they are laying off 530 employees, almost 11% of its global workforce. Last year, Microsoft announced it would cut off 10,000 jobs across the company.

Read More: Riot Games Lays Off 530 Employees, Also Shuts Down Riot Forge

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Himel Mahmud is a writer and social media manager at GameRiv. He is a former FIFA professional. He is also a social media and digital marketing expert.