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More job cuts! Microsoft lays off 1,900 Activision Blizzard, Xbox staff

The job cuts at both gaming studios comes months after Microsoft closed its $69 billion deal for Activision Blizzard to acquire Call of Duty franchise.

Edited By: Shubham Verma

Published: Jan 25, 2024, 10:30 PM IST

Microsoft is laying off several employees from its gaming verticals.
Microsoft is laying off several employees from its gaming verticals.

Microsoft is letting go of 1,900 employees at Activision Blizzard and Xbox this week, news website The Verge reported on Thursday, as last year’s widespread tech layoffs spill into 2024. The cuts represent around 8 percent of the overall Microsoft Gaming division and will mostly happen at Activision Blizzard, the report said, citing an internal memo from the head of the company’s gaming division, Phil Spencer.

Microsoft did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

Blizzard President Mike Ybarra and Chief Design Officer Allen Adham are also leaving the company, while a previously announced survival game by Blizzard has been cancelled, the report said.

The news comes months after Microsoft closed its $69 billion deal for Activision Blizzard, boosting its heft in the video gaming market with best-selling titles including “Call of Duty” to better compete with industry leader Sony. Several other big firms including Alphabet, Amazon.com and eBay have also laid off thousands of staff in recent weeks to lower costs and boost profitability.

Overall, more than 21,000 workers have been let go across 76 tech firms in January, according to the tracking website Layoffs.fyi.

The tech sector shed 168,032 jobs in 2023 and accounted for the highest number of layoffs across industries, according to a report by Challenger, Gray and Christmas earlier this month. That included more than 10,000 cuts at Microsoft. Analysts and industry experts have said they expect fewer layoffs this year, with firms that are racing to catch up in the AI space more likely to downsize to offset the billions of dollars they are spending on the technology.

The job cuts at Microsoft follow a mass layoff at Google’s parent, Alphabet, which impacted hundreds of employees across verticals. The downsizing at one of the world’s most valuable tech companies is likely to continue. According to Bloomberg, Alphabet is “laying off dozens of employees” from its vertical called ‘X – the moonshot factory’.

— Written with inputs from Reuters

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Author Name | Shubham Verma

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