Microsoft lays off 1,900 video game staff cover image

Microsoft lays off 1,900 video game staff

Blizzard president Mike Ybbara is also leaving Microsoft.

Microsoft is laying off 1,900 employees who are part of its video game workforce, according to a report by IGN. Those who are directly impacted include staff on the Activision Blizzard, ZeniMax, and the Xbox teams. Additionally, Mike Ybbara, the president of Blizzard Entertainment, is leaving the company. Here are the details about the Microsoft layoffs and more.

Microsoft layoffs: 1,900 roles out of 22,000 people

According to the report, Phil Spencer sent a memo to staff members on Jan. 25 to address the layoffs. The memo first acknowledged that Activision, Blizzard, and King joined Microsoft. It then announced that approximately 8% of its gaming workforce will be cut.

"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 memo stated. Below is Spencer's memo in full.

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.

Blizzard cancels survival game

According to a visual effects artist, the entire team working on Blizzard's survival game got laid off as well. The ex-employee posted about this on social media and noted that "no one will get to see it," indicating the game's cancellation.

Blizzard president Mike Ybbara leaves Microsoft

Blizzard's president, Mike Ybbara, is also parting ways with the company. He announced this on social media, acknowledging those impacted by the Microsoft layoffs before recalling his days of working at Blizzard.

"To the Blizzard community: I also want to let you all know today is my last day at Blizzard," Ybbara stated on X. "Leading Blizzard through an incredible time and being part of the team, shaping it for the future ahead, was an absolute honor. Having already spent 20+ years at Microsoft and with the acquisition of Activision Blizzard behind us, it’s time for me to (once again) become Blizzard’s biggest fan from the outside."

Ybbara then thanked the teams at Blizzard and emphasized that he's here for those impacted today.

"To the incredible teams at Blizzard - thank you. Words can’t express how I feel about all of you. You are amazing," he wrote. "Continue to do incredible things and always keep Blizzard blue and the player at the forefront of every decision."

That's all for now. Stick around on esports.gg for more news and updates across the gaming industry.