We’ve updated this story at the bottom with some of the latest news that has come forth about the scope of the layoffs and the cancellation of projects.
It looks as if Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick isn’t the only one being shown the door by Microsoft: The company announced in an internal memo that it will be laying off approximately 1,900 employees from the 22,000 in its gaming division, primarily affecting workers at Activision Blizzard as well as some employees at Xbox and ZeniMax, thus shedding about 8 percent of its head count.
According to the memo from Microsoft CEO Phil Spencer, the reduction is once again about cutting costs:
“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.”
On the subject of leadership at ActiBlizz, it’s reported that a replacement for Kotick wasn’t named, as “a suite of Activision Blizzard executives now report up to Microsoft’s game content and studios president Matt Booty” instead. Booty’s appointment also sees him overseeing Bethesda, ZeniMax studios, and Activision Blizzard.
This is the second time in as many years that Microsoft has made recent job cuts; the last time was in January of last year, when more than 10,000 employees were laid off.
These Xbox layoffs are such a mess that staff across Activision Blizzard are texting *me* to try to find out if they might be impacted. Nearly 2,000 job cuts and people now just have to wait around to see if they're part of the bloodbath
— Jason Schreier (@jasonschreier) January 25, 2024
Ybarra made a public statement too.
I want to thank everyone who is impacted today for their meaningful contributions to their teams, to Blizzard, and to players’ lives. It’s an incredibly hard day and my energy and support will be focused on all those amazing individuals impacted – this is in no way a reflection…
— Mike Ybarra 🎄 (@Qwik) January 25, 2024
Multiple sources tell me that Microsoft is laying off the entire internal customer support team(s) for ABK games, save a few.
MS will outsource the rest to external companies abroad.
ABK was one of the few games pubs with a high-quality internal customer support team.
— Jez (@JezCorden) January 25, 2024
CWA, the union that represents workers across zenimax and activision blizzard, tells me that these layoffs "do not impact workers represented by CWA." it also sent over a statement pic.twitter.com/4tiONlI5M1
— Nathan Grayson (@Vahn16) January 25, 2024