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Microsoft has billions to buy Activision, but lays off 10,000 people

Game developers also affected
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Tech giant Microsoft has announced a massive round of layoffs throughout its divisions on January 18, 2023, which affects around 10,000 employees including game developers.

Both 343 Industries, creator of Halo Infinite, and Bethesda, which is currently working on getting the highly-anticipated space RPG Starfield ready for launch in 2023, are said to have to cut their workforce, according to a Bloomberg report.

Pierre Hintze, studio head at 343 Industries, stated in an email sent to staff members that the company had “made the difficult decision to restructure elements of our team, which means some roles are being eliminated.”

A bunch of video game characters lined up.

Massive layoffs have begun at Microsoft, which also affects some game developers.

Former senior multiplayer designer for Halo Infinite, Patrick Wren, who currently works on Star Wars Jedi: Survivor at Respawn Entertainment, took to social media to explain why he believes these layoffs were announced: “The layoffs at 343 shouldn't have happened and Halo Infinite should be in a better state. The reason for both of those things is incompetent leadership up top during Halo Infinite development causing massive stress on those working hard to make Halo the best it can be.”

He continued: “The people I worked every day with were passionate about Halo and wanted to make something great for the fans. They helped push for a better Halo and got laid off for it. Devs still there are working hard on that dream. Be kind to them during this awful time.”

Microsoft is not the only tech company in trouble

The current economic downturn, which has financially hit a number of companies, are cited as the reasons for the layoffs. Microsoft still hopes to invest in “emerging industries” such as AI development and wants to close a deal worth $69 billion to acquire Activision Blizzard in 2023, a move that’s looked at with high skepticism by regulators in the US, UK, and EU.

Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot recently talked about similar difficulties in an email sent to staff members, which led to Ubisoft’s Paris branch announcing a warning strike.

Riot Games has also started a round of layoffs on January 19, 2023, according to Jacob Wolf, though the scope is not yet clear. It mainly seems to affect roles outside of game development such as human resources, recruitment, support, and esports.