Thursday, January 25, 2024
By
Web Desk

Microsoft layoffs nearly 2,000 employees at Activision Blizzard and Xbox

Layoffs represent approximately 8% of overall Microsoft Gaming division

By
Web Desk
Microsoft logo is seen on a smartphone placed on displayed Activision Blizzard logo in this illustration taken January 18, 2022. —Reuters
Microsoft logo is seen on a smartphone placed on displayed Activision Blizzard logo in this illustration taken January 18, 2022. —Reuters

Microsoft is undertaking significant layoffs this week, affecting 1,900 employees at Activision Blizzard and Xbox, The Verge reported. 

While the majority of the job cuts are concentrated at Activision Blizzard, some employees from the Xbox and ZeniMax divisions will also be impacted by the restructuring.

The layoffs represent approximately 8 percent of the overall Microsoft Gaming division, which comprises around 22,000 employees. Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer confirmed the workforce reduction in an internal memo obtained by The Verge

Alongside these changes, Blizzard president Mike Ybarra has opted to leave the company. Matt Booty, Microsoft’s game content and studios president, conveyed in an internal memo that: "Now that he [Ybarra] has seen the acquisition through as Blizzard’s president, he has decided to leave the company."

Microsoft is set to announce a new president for Blizzard next week. Additionally, Blizzard’s chief design officer, Allen Adham, is departing the company. Booty remarked: "His influence will be felt for years to come, both directly and indirectly as Allen plans to continue mentoring young designers across the industry."

As part of the restructuring, Blizzard’s previously revealed survival game has been cancelled, with Microsoft redirecting some team members to other promising projects in the early stages of development.

These layoffs come in the same month that various tech companies, including Riot Games, Google, Discord, Twitch, Unity, and eBay, announced workforce reductions. Microsoft's acquisition of Activision Blizzard, completed in October for $68.7 billion, marked one of the largest in the gaming industry. 

The restructuring follows leadership changes at Xbox a few months ago, with Sarah Bond becoming Xbox president and Matt Booty being promoted to president of game content and studios.

This move comes after Microsoft announced significant layoffs a year ago, affecting 10,000 employees. The upcoming fiscal Q2 2024 earnings report will, for the first time, include the financial impact of the Activision Blizzard acquisition.