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Microsoft lays off 1900 from Blizzard and Xbox, Ybarra leaves, survival game canned

Another industry upset as lays off hit Xbox and Blizzard in huge numbers. Blizzard also cans their suvival game.

Microsoft lays off 1900 from Blizzard and Xbox, Ybarra leaves, survival game canned

Microsoft lays off 1900 from Blizzard and Xbox is not a headline we wanted to be writing today. This has not been a good year for jobs in the industry with another huge hammer blow to the sector’s workforce.

A total of around 1900 staff will be made redundant and a statement from Xbox supremo Phil Spencer reads:

“It’s been a little over three months since the Activision, Blizzard, and King teams joined Microsoft. 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.

“As part of this process, we have made the painful decision to reduce the size of our gaming workforce by approximately 1,900 roles out of the 22,000 people on our team. 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. We are grateful for all of the creativity, passion and dedication they have brought to our games, our players and our colleagues. We will provide our full support to those who are impacted during the transition, including severance benefits informed by local employment laws. Those whose roles will be impacted will be notified, and we ask that you please treat your departing colleagues with the respect and compassion that is consistent with our values.

“Looking ahead, we’ll continue to invest in areas that will grow our business and support our strategy of bringing more games to more players around the world. Although this is a difficult moment for our team, I’m as confident as ever in your ability to create and nurture the games, stories and worlds that bring players together.


Mike Ybarra
Mike Ybarra

That’s not all, Blizzard President Mike Ybarra has also announced he is leaving the company. Ybarra joined in 2019. He posted on Twitter:

“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 on your amazing work. If there’s anything I can help with, connections, recommendations, etc., DM me.

“To the Blizzard community: I also want to let you all know today is my last day at Blizzard. Leading Blizzard through an incredible time and being part of the team, shaping it for the future ahead, was an absolute honor. Having already spent 20+ years at Microsoft and with the acquisition of Activision Blizzard behind us, it’s time for me to (once again) become Blizzard’s biggest fan from the outside.

“To the incredible teams at Blizzard – thank you. Words can’t express how I feel about all of you. You are amazing. Continue to do incredible things and always keep Blizzard blue and the player at the forefront of every decision.

“To all of those impacted today – I am always available to you and understand how challenging today’s news is. My heart is with each one of you.”

We’re not done yet because Blizzard’s chief design officer and co-founder Allen Adham has also announced he is departing the company.

Surely that’s it? Nope. Blizzard has also announced their Survival game “Project Odyssey” which was in development and announced in 2022 has been canned.

Blizzard survival game

This has been a terrible year for layoffs, as developer Rami Ismail points out.

There are some really big changes happening right now and there seems no letup to these redundancies across the industry. We hope everyone affected finds a new role soon.

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