The recent wave of layoffs by Microsoft, impacting nearly 1,900 of its gaming workforce, has sent shockwaves through the esports community, particularly within Blizzard’s Esports Division. This development, a continuation of the unsettling trend from 2023, signals a significant shift in the esports landscape.
The Impact on Blizzard’s Esports Division
Several employees from Blizzard’s esports teams were among those notified of their termination. CharlieIntel, a prominent Call of Duty news source, revealed that the majority of the esports team has been laid off, leaving only about 12 members.
The dismissals aren’t limited to Call of Duty esports but span across various esports brands under Microsoft, including the Overwatch League.
Former employees like Soe Gschwind and Nick Edmonds shared their experiences and disappointments on social media, highlighting the emotional toll of these layoffs. Scott Parkin’s post underscored the abruptness and perceived insensitivity of the decision.
Activision Blizzard and Microsoft continued the lay offs todays, laying off a majority of the esports team. There’s about 12 people left on the esports team now.
Microsoft waited till the CDL staff came back from Boston Major this past weekend before informing them.
— CharlieIntel (@charlieINTEL) January 30, 2024
Not the End, But a Reduction
IGN reports that these layoffs, while significant, do not spell the end for Blizzard’s esports division. However, the significant reduction in workforce raises questions about the future direction and capabilities of the division.
A Growing Concern in the Gaming Industry
This situation is reflective of a broader issue in the gaming industry, which saw an estimated 10,000 layoffs in 2023. Already in January 2024, over 5,600 gaming industry workers have lost their jobs. These figures are startling, especially considering Microsoft’s current valuation of over $3 trillion.
After 7 years of service, I've just been laid off by Blizzard. It was a dream come true to work there & I'm saddened that my time was cut short.
(Yes, I was rdy for this call with champagne…gotta celebrate the good times & opportunities I had!)
What's next? I am available! pic.twitter.com/kSbiNG8dCu
— Soe Gschwind (@Soembie) January 30, 2024
Final Thoughts: An Industry in Flux
The gaming and esports industry is undoubtedly undergoing a significant transformation. These layoffs at Microsoft, affecting key players in the esports world, highlight the volatile nature of the industry and the need for resilience and adaptability among its professionals.