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Microsoft lays off 1,900 Xbox and Activision Blizzard employees



Microsoft is facing a wave of layoffs, laying off 1,900 employees from Activision Blizzard and its Xbox division this week. While the main focus is on Activision Blizzard's layoffs, some Xbox and ZeniMax employees will also feel the impacts of the cuts.

This restructuring represents approximately 8% of Microsoft's gaming division workforce, which has around 22,000 employees around the world. Additionally, Blizzard President Mike Ybarra is also leaving the company after more than 20 years of service at Microsoft.

Ybarra's decision coincides with the conclusion of the Microsoft's $68.7 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard last October, after intense negotiations with regulators in the US and UK. Former Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick resigned from his position at the end of December, without Microsoft announcing a direct replacement.

Microsoft's president of game studios and content, Matt Booty, has communicated internally that the company intends to appoint a new president for Blizzard next week. In addition to Ybarra, Allen Adham, Blizzard's design director and co-founder of the company, is also leaving the organization, leaving his lasting impact on Blizzard's games.

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As part of these changes, Blizzard also canceled a previously announced survival game. Booty revealed that Microsoft will reassign some collaborators from this project to new projects in the early stages of development at Blizzard.

These layoffs come against a backdrop of cuts at several companies in the technology and gaming sector, with Riot Games, Google, Discord, Twitch, Unity, eBay and others also announcing staff reductions this month.

The latest layoffs at Microsoft follow some recent leadership changes at Xbox, with Sarah Bond being promoted to president of Xbox and Matt Booty taking over as president of content and game studios, overseeing Bethesda, ZeniMax and Activision Blizzard.

The software maker, which has not made significant cuts in a year, is expected to release its fiscal second-quarter 2024 results next week, including the financial impacts of the Activision Blizzard acquisition.

Read below the full statement about the case obtained by The Verge, signed by Phil Spencer, CEO of Microsoft Gaming:

“It's been just over three months since the Activision, Blizzard and King teams joined Microsoft. As we move into 2024, Microsoft Gaming and Activision Blizzard leadership are committed to aligning a strategy and plan for executing with a sustainable cost structure that will support our entire growing business.Together we set priorities, identify areas of overlap, and ensure we are all aligned on the best growth opportunities.

As part of this process, we made the painful decision to reduce the size of our gaming workforce by approximately 1,900 roles out of our 22,000-person team. The Games Leadership Team and I are committed to navigating this process as carefully as possible. Everyone who is directly affected by these cuts has played an important role 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 the creativity, passion and dedication you have brought to our games, our players and our colleagues. We will provide our full support to those affected during the transition, including severance benefits informed by local employment laws. Those whose roles will be affected will be notified and we ask that they treat their departing colleagues with the respect and compassion that is consistent with our values.

Looking ahead, we will continue to invest in areas that will expand our business and support our strategy of bringing more games to more players around the world. While this is a difficult time for our team, I'm more confident than ever in your ability to create and nurture the games, stories, and worlds that bring players together.


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