1,900 Microsoft video game employees get the axe

Microsoft video game employees laid off

Activision Blizzard and Xbox and ZeniMax brands have slashed their worker numbers.

About 1,900 video game employees at Microsoft are being laid off, particularly in Activision Blizzard and Xbox, but also in ZeniMax.

Mike Ybarra, Blizzard president, has also chosen to exit the company.

As Blizzard’s survival game has been canceled, Ybarra is leaving, and massive layoffs are occurring. The layoffs are impacting around 9 percent of the video game employees in the Microsoft Gaming division, which currently employs about 22,000 people.

Video game layoffs - Image of person leaving the office with box of stuff

“We have made the painful decision to reduce the size of our gaming workforce by approximately 1900 roles out of the 22,000 people on our team,” said Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer in part of an internal memo obtained and published by The Verge. “The Gaming Leadership Team and I are committed to navigating this process as thoughtfully as possible. The people who are directly impacted by these reductions have all played an important part in the success of Activision Blizzard, ZeniMax and the Xbox teams, and they should be proud of everything they’ve accomplished here.”

Ybarra’s departure from the Blizzard video game division at Microsoft was announced separately.

Ybarra had worked with Microsoft for over 20 years but decided to leave with the cancellation of the Blizzard survival game. A new Blizzard president is soon to be named.

“As many of you know, Mike previously spent more than 20 years at Microsoft. Now that he has seen the acquisition through as Blizzard’s president, he has decided to leave the company,” said an internal memo from Matt Booty, president of game content and studios at Microsoft.

Also leaving the company is Blizzard’s chief design officer Allen Adham. “As one of Blizzard’s cofounders, Allen has had a broad impact on all of Blizzard’s games,” said Booty’s internal memo. “His influence will be felt for years to come, both directly and indirectly as Allen plans to continue mentoring young designers across the industry.”

Booty explained that with the cancellation of Blizzard’s survival video game, Microsoft will be “shifting some of the people working on it to one of several promising new projects Blizzard has in the early stages of development.”

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