Microsoft Announces Layoffs: 1,900 Jobs Cut in Xbox and Activision Blizzard

Just weeks into 2024, the video game industry is facing another painful year of layoffs. The latest is Microsoft, which announced plans to cut around 1,900 jobs across its Xbox, Activision Blizzard and ZeniMax (Bethesda) teams. This brings the total video game layoffs so far in 2024 to about 6,000, following an estimated 9,000 job losses across the industry last year.

“As we move forward in 2024, the leadership of Microsoft Gaming and Activision Blizzard aims to align on a sustainable cost structure to support our growing business,” said Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer in a memo. “We have made the difficult decision to reduce our gaming workforce by about 1,900 roles out of 22,000 people.”

Most cuts will reportedly come from Activision Blizzard, which Microsoft acquired for $68.9 billion last year after a lengthy review process. Some roles on the Xbox and ZeniMax teams will also be affected.

“The impacted individuals have contributed meaningfully to our games and players’ lives,” Spencer wrote. “We are grateful for their dedication and will support them during this transition.”

While painful, Spencer expressed confidence in the company’s ability to keep “bringing more games to more players around the world.” The cuts amount to about 8% of Microsoft’s gaming division.

Among those exiting is Blizzard president Mike Ybarra, who announced his departure on X. “It’s an incredibly hard day and my energy and support will be focused on all those amazing individuals impacted,” he wrote.

Microsoft plans to appoint a new Blizzard president next week, according to reports. One major casualty of the reorganization is the cancellation of Blizzard’s untitled survival game, which would have marked its first entry into the genre.

Industry observers warn to expect more layoffs across the video game business in early 2024 as companies digest mergers and pinpoint overlapping positions, especially in areas like marketing and HR. At over 1,900 job losses, this marks gaming’s largest single round of cuts this year.