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Microsoft will lay off almost 2,000 people after its merger with Activision-Blizzard

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Three months ago, Microsoft acquired Activision-Blizzard, a manufacturer known for titles such as Call of Duty and the Warcraft series. Now, in a letter to employees, the company has announced that 2,000 employees of Microsoft’s gaming division will be laid off following the $69 billion merger.

According to the BBC, a note from Xbox CEO Phil Spencer to employees shows that the company plans to lay off 1.9 thousand people out of 22,000 employees. In the letter, the authenticity of which was confirmed by Microsoft, Spencer states that making the decision to lay off is “painful.”

The news, first published by The Verge, suggests that employees at Xbox and publisher Zenimax, which oversees studios including Bethesda and Arkane, will also be affected.

The big guys leave with the employees

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The second letter, also published by The Verge and verified by Microsoft, was sent to Blizzard employees by Microsoft Studios head Matt Booty. It stated that meetings with affected employees would be held throughout the day and that non-North American employees would be informed later. The announcement also echoed Spencer’s message, which said the company “will provide full support, including severance pay under local labor laws.”

It was also confirmed that work on the survival game project commonly known as Odyssey has been suspended.

Following the deal, Activision CEO Bobby Kotick left the company and was not immediately replaced.

Following the latest news, another senior member of the company has announced that he is leaving. Blizzard CEO Mike Ybarra, who previously worked at Microsoft, said in a statement that it had been an “honor” to lead the company through this “incredible period” and that he would return to his role as its “biggest outside fan.”

Crisis in the gaming world

These are not the first layoffs in the game production industry. The industry is struggling. The cuts were made, among others, by: Epic Games, Amazon, and a few days earlier, on January 23, Riot Games, producer of games such as “Valorant” and “League of Legends”, announced that it would lay off 530 people, which constitutes approximately 11 percent of all employees.

There will also be layoffs in the industry in 2023. Estimates put the total number of layoffs at over 10,000 people, although the true number is believed to be higher. Experts believe that the crisis of rising costs of living and the slowdown of the gaming industry after the recovery caused by the Covid-19 pandemic played a major role.

Main photo source: ALDECA studio/Shutterstock

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