COMP NEWS – Microsoft is cutting hundreds of workers from its video game staff, following a recent trend in mass layoffs for video game publishers.

Microsoft is cutting 1,900 staff from its video game workforce, sources have told IGN.

In a message to staff viewed by IGN, Xbox boss Phil Spencer said Microsoft will provide “full support to those who are impacted during the transition, including severance benefits informed by local employment laws.” IGN has asked Microsoft for comment.

The layoffs come following the $69 billion acquisition of Call of Duty owner Activision Blizzard and the exit of its controversial former boss Bobby Kotick. Microsoft is currently worth more than $3 trillion — the second company to ever break that threshold.

One union for gaming workers criticized the layoffs, calling them “the norm” despite huge profits for employers.

The Communications Workers of America (CWA), which represents hundreds of gaming workers across Microsoft subsidiaries including ZeniMax Studios, Activision Blizzard and more, told IGN the layoffs do not impact workers they represent.

In a statement, the CWA said it will “continue to support workers at Microsoft and across the video game industry who want to have a union voice on the job.”

“Layoffs in the video game industry are becoming the norm, even at companies that continue to deliver huge profits,” said Wayne Dayberry, Senior Quality Assurance Tester and member of ZeniMax Workers United-CWA. “It hurts to see our coworkers, who are so passionate about this work, who actually make these video game companies so successful, be the first impacted by any cuts or layoffs at work. Companies will claim that we’re all a family, but a family doesn’t layoff or outsource people. It’s clear that one way or the other, the only way forward is for all of us to come together as workers to protect each other.

Employees in the video game industry have suffered blow after blow these past few months, as prolific game studies have shuttered staff even in the wake of releasing critically acclaimed titles.

Layoffs are sweeping the video game industry, with a number of high-profile studios cutting staff or shutting down. In stark contrast to a year of blockbuster video game hits, one of the biggest ongoing industry trends in 2023 was the prevalence of mass layoffs, and they have continued into 2024. While actual figures are difficult to obtain, estimates suggest the number of workers laid off in games last year approached or exceeded 10,000, and 2024 isn’t looking much better. A recent GDC survey of developers suggests one-third of all game developers were impacted by layoffs last year, either directly or by witnessing them happen at their company.

To read more about Microsoft’s layoffs, click here.

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