Home Microsoft Microsoft: 1,900 licensed in gaming, mostly Activision. Ybarra leaves

Microsoft: 1,900 licensed in gaming, mostly Activision. Ybarra leaves

by Andrew

Microsoft lays people off. About 1,900 employees are expected to leave the company in the coming days, most of whom would be part of Activision Blizzard, the software house that Redmond acquired last fall, closing a tortuous path to say the least. The news was given by Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer with an internal communication sent to all employees, obtained and published by theverge.com’s colleagues. You can find it below.

The cut is quite important, 8% of the approximately 22 thousand employees of companies in the Microsoft galaxy engaged in games will have to free up desks and cabinets. And to leave his desk there is also a very heavy name such as that of Mike Ybarra, the president of Blizzard, who preferred to remove the disturbance, entrusting the greetings to his X account. Ybarra – the most informed will remember him – in 2019 had left Microsoft after 20 years to join Blizzard. Chief Design Officer Allen Adham is also leaving. theverge.com also reports that Blizzard, at the same time as the layoffs, has announced that it has suppressed the early 2022 project on the unreleased survival game for PC and consoles.

Here is the internal communication with which the number one of Microsoft Gaming Phil Spencer communicated to his team the latest developments and layoffs:

“It’s been over three months since the teams at Activision, Blizzard, and King joined Microsoft. Setting the 2024 path, executives at Microsoft Gaming and Activision Blizzard have aligned on a strategy and operational plan that moves from cost sustainability to support the entirety of our business. Together, we set priorities, identified areas of overlap, and made sure we were all on the same page about the best development opportunities.
As part of this process, we’ve made the painful decision to reduce the size of our gaming workforce by approximately 1,900 out of the 22,000 people on the team. The Gaming Leadership Team and I are committed to managing this process in the most delicate way possible. The people directly involved in the staff cuts have all played an important role in the success of the Activision Blizzard, ZeniMax, and Xbox teams, and they should be proud of what they’ve accomplished. […]
As we look to the future, we will continue to invest in areas that will grow our business and contribute to our goal of bringing more games to more fans around the world. While this is a difficult time for our team, I have more confidence than ever in your ability to create games, stories, and worlds that bring players together.

Farewell without controversy from Mike Ybarra who greeted everyone with a long message on X. Here is the message:

“I want to thank everyone involved [since the layoffs of] today for their commendable contributions to colleagues, to Blizzard, and to the lives of gaming enthusiasts. It’s an incredibly difficult day, my energy and closeness are channeled to all those amazing people affected [by the layoffs] (what happened is not the result of your extraordinary work). If there is anything I can do to help you – contacts, advice, etc. – write to me privately.
To the Blizzard community: Today is my last day at Blizzard. Leading Blizzard for what has been an incredible time and being a part of this team has been an absolute honor. Having already spent more than 20 years at Microsoft and with the acquisition now a thing of the past, it’s time for me to be (once again) the first fan of Blizzard, but from the outside.
To the incredible teams that make up Blizzard: thank you. Words can’t describe how I feel about each of you. You are awesome.
To everyone involved [from the layoffs]: I am always at your disposal and I realize how hard today’s news is to digest. My heart is close to each one of you.”

It’s not an easy time for those who work in technology. Just yesterday eBay, TikTok and Riot Games announced staff cuts, among them the thousand eBay employees around the world who have lost their jobs – about 9% of the total workforce, a “slice” similar in proportions to the one Microsoft Gaming gives up today. For the moment, in short, the bleeding continues.

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