Amazon is apparently continuing its mass layoffs, as this week the company slashed jobs even more relevant to MMO fans than Twitch: This time, the cuts include Amazon Games’ San Diego branch. According to CNBC, that brings the total layoffs from Amazon over the last few rounds to something like 27,000 people. MMO fans are surely wondering whether that means the New World team is affected, and the answer is actually that we don’t know – but it does at least sound like a net gain for New World as the team is expected to grow.
“After evaluating our current projects against our long-term goals, the Games leadership team made the difficult decision to eliminate just over 100 roles across Prime Gaming, Game Growth and in our San Diego studio, while also reassigning some employees to other projects that match our strategic focus,” Amazon Games VP Christoph Hartmann’s memo says. “Going forward, our resources will be aligned to support our focus on content. We will continue to invest in our internal development efforts, and our teams will continue to grow as our projects progress: The New World team in Irvine will grow as we shift some resources to further support its continued development. [Emphasis ours.] Our studio in Montreal will continue to expand, and is making great progress on their unannounced project.”
Readers will recall that John Smedley, who’d run the San Diego branch, left the company abruptly in January, implying that work on the sci-fi MMO he’d originally been hired to spearhead would continue, though we’ve heard nothing about it since. Hartmann confirms in the memo that it does indeed continue: “[T]he San Diego studio will double down on the pre-production phase of their unannounced game, as that project is not yet ready for a full production size team.” We’ll see how well that quote ages as some of the layoffs definitely came from this arm of the studio.
Amazon is currently signed to publish both Bandai Namco’s Blue Protocol and NCsoft’s Throne & Liberty, and Hartmann suggests the company’s publishing efforts will continue.
Hopefully affected MMO workers find new homes quickly. Here’s one opportunity close to home:
Pained to hear about the continued layoffs @amazongames and @disney. If you or anyone you know has been affected by the recent turmoil in our industry, do not hesitate to reach out to our team @AshesofCreation. We are hiring across the board for talented developers to help us… pic.twitter.com/AYmsc5a43I
— Steven Sharif (@StevenJSharif) April 5, 2023