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  • Writer's pictureGreg Ezell

The Impacts and Realities of Game Industry Layoffs: What You Need to Know

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Microsoft is the latest with 1,900 employees fired today

The video game industry has generated some crazy revenue numbers the past few years. This is evident when looking at gaming industry revenue for 2022. China leads the way with 45.8 BILLION dollars in revenue, followed by the United States (45B) and Japan (20B).

These are BILLIONS. With a B.

Despite that, gaming companies continue to lay off a large number of staff. In 2023, over 9,000 people lost their job in the video game industry. Companies generating billions of dollars in revenue like Epic Games (who fired 830 people in 2023) claim that they aren't making enough money to become sustainable.

Tim Sweeney, from The Verge's article linked above:

"We’ve been spending way more money than we earn. [...] I had long been optimistic that we could power through this transition without layoffs, but in retrospect I see that this was unrealistic.”

Epic isn't the only company going through this either. Embracer Group, Activision (pre-Microsoft merger), Naughty Dog, Ubisoft and more have shown their employees the door in 2023.

2024 is no different.

We're 25 days into the year and already about 8,000 people have been laid off from companies that directly deal in the video game space. Riot Games, developer and publisher of Valorant and League of Legends, laid off 500+ people on Monday, January 22nd.

Today, another major company dismissed staff as Microsoft has shown 1,900 people the door. Phil Spencer sent correspondence to Microsoft staff. From the IGN article linked:

“As part of this process, we have made the painful decision to reduce the size of our gaming workforce by approximately 1,900 roles out of the 22,000 people on our team."

With this latest announcement, one has to believe that the gaming industry is in a troublesome space. We've known for awhile that the games industry, from a worker standpoint, isn't a great one. Multiple big name companies have been sued for sexual harassment, workers were put through insanely awful crunch periods, and practices like tying bonuses to Metacritic scores. We also know that games are incredibly expensive to make.

In the end, something has to give, but for now, companies are going to continue laying off their employees to appease their shareholders. Do I expect an industry crash like that of the 80s? No, I don't.

But the industry is becoming too saturated. Much like Hollywood making movies, nothing is an original idea anymore. Terms like "extraction shooter", "rogue-lite" and "metroidvania" don't mean anything anymore because game stores are flooded with these games. It is hard to separate the wheat from the chaff.

The game industry may not crash, but it isn't looking too great from the outside with these game industry layoffs.


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