Microsoft has announced mass layoffs that will affect the developers behind Starfield, Halo Infinite, and Gears Of War. Bloomberg report that it’s not yet known what the scale of the job losses at Bethesda and 343 Industries will be, and Kotaku has also confirmed that The Coalition will also lose staff. Sources claim that some of the staff who’d lost their jobs at the affected studios were veterans who’d been with Microsoft for more than a decade. This layoff announcement from Microsoft has been made exactly a year after the company revealed they were buying Activision Blizzard.
An email to staff from 343 Industries head Pierre Hintze described the situation as a restructuring. Hintze said the decision had been “difficult” but confirmed that “some roles are being eliminated”. The email also clarified that 343 will continue to support Halo Infinite’s multiplayer component. It's also been reported that creative director Joe Staten will be leaving 343 to rejoin the Xbox publishing team. Staten joined 343 in 2020 to shepherd Halo Infinite’s campaign after the game was delayed following negative fan reaction.
Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella addressed the layoffs in a blog post published on Wednesday, which blamed the global economy and shifting consumer spending patterns for the need to let employees go. “It’s important to note that while we are eliminating roles in some areas, we will continue to hire in key strategic areas,” Nadella said. “These decisions are difficult, but necessary.” Bloomberg reporter Jason Schreier tweeted that several 343 staff had told him the company was “hit hard” and also points out that Nadella made $55 million last year.
Although they’re cutting staff now, Microsoft announced last January that they plan to buy Call Of Duty and Overwatch publisher Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion (£56 billion). That’s the most expensive takeover in tech history. Microsoft insisted back in August that Call Of Duty and the rest of Activision Blizzard’s output weren’t “must have” games, but competition and markets authorities in the US, UK, and EU have begun investigations into whether the buyout could lead to issues within the industry that would affect developers and consumers. Earlier this week, the EU seemed to be readying an antitrust warning over the proposed deal.