2023 begins with mass layoffs across the industry
Multiple major names have announced a significant number of layoffs this week, with thousands of people affected.
Here’s our roundup:
Microsoft/Xbox (Bethesda, 343 Industries, The Coalition)
- Microsoft has announced that it is laying off a total of 10,000 people across the company beginning on January 18, including its game studios. In an article for Bloomberg, Jason Schreier reported that Bethesda, 343 Industries, and The Coalition have all been affected by the decision, although we don’t yet know to what degree. All three studios have large projects in the works, with 343 supporting Halo Infinite, Bethesda working on the soon-to-be-released RPG Starfield, and The Coalition working on a new entry to the fan favorite Gears of War series and a brand new IP. It’s unclear how these projects will be impacted moving forward, but some delays may be on the horizon.
- According to the Wall Street Journal, the software development company behind one of the most popular game engines in the world has cut 284 jobs, just seven months after letting 225 employees go. Unity had over 8,000 employees before the layoffs and claims that some were made in response to "negative economic trends," with others aimed at eliminating duplicate roles from its merger with IronSource in November 2022. "We’re dealing very specifically with overlap and a handful of projects are going in the closet," said Chief Executive John Riccitiello in his comments to The Wall Street Journal.
- Amazon CEO Andy Jassy released a statement on January 5, confirming that 18,000 employees would have their roles terminated starting January 18. In the post, Jassy stated that the changes would "help us pursue our long-term opportunities with a stronger cost structure" and that the company is "optimistic" that it will be "innovative, resourceful, and scrappy" during this period. It does appear that Amazon Games has been directly affected by the massive layoffs, as it was during Amazon’s last round of layoffs in November.
- As reported by Jacob Wolf, League of Legends developer Riot Games has let staff go across its human resources, esports, and support departments. Similar to other companies on this list, the current state of the economy is most likely to shoulder the blame, with Wolf adding in a follow-up tweet that "Riot’s historically not made many reductions in force in the past, but it’s in line with a broader trend in tech, gaming, and entertainment as economic hardship begins to affect many corporations."
- The studio behind Smite and Paladins also seems to have undergone some downsizing, with marketing and community management being among the affected areas. There’s no official statement on the layoffs or any information regarding the number of positions involved at the time of this writing, though we’ll be sure to add an update here if anything is made public.
- Texas-based publisher and developer Aspyr Media let go of an unknown number of employees on January 18. We’re not sure which areas have been hit the hardest just yet, but judging from a couple of LinkedIn posts we’ve seen from its former employees, it appears that the art department has lost some members.
100 Thieves (100T)
- The second-most valuable esports organization in the world laid off approximately a sixth of their total workforce last week, letting go of around 30 employees, including members of senior management. The team’s president and COO, John Robinson, took to Reddit to explain that despite the team’s brands Juvee and Higround being "healthy and growing," there was still a "challenging economic climate" and that sponsorships were keeping the esports side afloat. You can find our full write-up of the situation here.
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