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Microsoft Lays Off 1,900 Employees After Acquiring Activision Blizzard

Microsoft has laid off around 1,900 employees at Activision Blizzard and Xbox after the software and technology giant recently acquired the Call of Duty and Diablo video game publisher, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed.

Microsoft closed the $68.7 billion deal for Activision Blizzard in October 2023, and has now shed around 8 percent of the overall Microsoft Gaming workforce, which stands at around 22,000 employees. The next steps for Microsoft included combining the merged companies’ operations, including cutting jobs in overlapping areas as part of the evolution of its gaming arm.

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“Together, we’ve set priorities, identified areas of overlap, and ensured that we’re all aligned on the best opportunities for growth,” Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer said in an internal memo seen by THR.

The takeover brings together Microsoft, which owns the Xbox game platform and Xbox Game Studios (owner of Starfield developer Bethesda Softworks and 343 Industries, among other game publishers); and Activision, maker of the Call of Duty, Diablo, Warcraft and Tony Hawk franchises, among others; and owner of Candy Crush and Farm Heroes Saga maker King.

The full internal memo from Microsoft CEO Phil Spencer follows:

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 1900 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.

Phil

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