Microsoft trims workforce months after Activision Blizzard buyout; 1,900 jobs slashed

Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer stated the move aims to align company strategy and optimize costs for 'sustainable growth.'

Follow us:
Courtesy: Pexels

Just three months after acquiring video game giant Activision Blizzard in a staggering $69 billion deal, Microsoft is streamlining its gaming division with a round of layoffs affecting roughly 1,900 employees. It represents about 8% of the company's 22,000-strong gaming workforce, impacting teams across Activision Blizzard, Xbox, and ZeniMax.

Blizzard President Mike Ybarra confirms

In a company memo obtained by The Associated Press, Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer stated the move aims to align company strategy and optimize costs for 'sustainable growth.' While Microsoft declined further comment, Blizzard President Mike Ybarra acknowledged the layoffs on X, expressing support for those impacted and calling his time leading Blizzard 'an absolute honor.'

He stated in a post on microblogging platform X, "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."

Furthermore, the post stated," 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." 

Huge layoffs in tech companies

The workforce reduction comes amidst a broader tech sector downturn, with companies like Google, Riot Games, TikTok, and others implementing similar measures. Interestingly, Microsoft faced similar layoffs just a year ago, shedding 10,000 jobs as it adjusted to post-pandemic realities.

The Communications Workers of America (CWA), which supports unionization efforts in the gaming industry, emphasized the layoffs underscore the need for employee representation. Notably, Microsoft promised neutrality on unionization attempts within Activision Blizzard's U.S. and Canadian divisions as part of the acquisition agreement. While some progress has been made, organized unions remain limited within the company.