Microsoft lays off 1,900 employees in its gaming division after Activision Blizzard buyout


The memo obtained Thursday by The Associated Press said the job cuts represent a roughly 8% reduction in Microsoft's 22,000-person gaming workforce. The people affected worked on teams for Activision Blizzard as well as Xbox and ZeniMax – which are also owned by Microsoft.

Phil Spencer, CEO of Microsoft Gaming, wrote, "As we move into 2024, the leadership of Microsoft Gaming and Activision Blizzard are committed to aligning a strategy and an execution plan with a sustainable cost structure that supports our entire growing Will support business." Memorandum.

Microsoft did not immediately respond to requests for comment from The Associated Press.

Also on Thursday, Blizzard president Mike Ybarra announced he would be leaving the company. post on xThe platform formerly known as Twitter appears to be accepting layoffs.

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“This is an incredibly difficult day and my energy and support will be focused on all of the wonderful individuals affected – this is in no way a reflection of your amazing work,” Ybarra wrote – later adding that he would step down to lead Blizzard. His time in "was an absolute honor."

Microsoft closes its $69 billion Activision Blizzard deal In OctoberNearly 22 months after the deal was first announced, it overcame opposition from antitrust regulators in the United Kingdom and the European Union.

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission lost a court battle to block the takeover but its antitrust enforcers are still pursuing a case that seeks to void the deal. The FTC described the merger as a threat to competition in the video game industry, enabling Microsoft to create a "walled garden" around its Xbox Game Pass subscription service and the emerging business of streaming games on demand.

Microsoft eliminated a large number of roles just over a year ago. In January 2023, Microsoft said it will Cut 10,000 employeesThen about 5% of its workforce, as the company joined other tech players scaling back pandemic-era expansions.

Microsoft's latest layoffs "underscore the importance of keeping a union voice on the job," said the Communications Workers of America — which is working to organize video game workers at Microsoft, including gaming divisions.

In an unusual arrangement for the gaming industry, Microsoft has pledged to remain neutral if Activision Blizzard workers in the US and Canada try to organize into a labor union. The union deal was part of a 2022 agreement with the CWA that helped address U.S. political concerns about the effects of the merger. However, so far, only a small group of Activision Blizzard divisions have formed unions.

O'Brien reported from Providence, Rhode Island.

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