Microsoft Faces Criticism After Gaming Division Layoffs

Microsoft draws criticism for laying off over 1,900 employees from its gaming division, including Activision Blizzard staff.

  • Microsoft draws criticism for laying off over 1,900 employees from its gaming division, including Activision Blizzard staff.
  • US FTC expresses concerns about potential antitrust implications post-Microsoft’s Activision Blizzard acquisition.
  • Prominent figures departing, including Blizzard President Mike Ybarra, raising questions about leadership changes and project cancellations.

Microsoft’s recent announcement of layoffs affecting over 1,900 employees within its gaming division has sparked criticism and regulatory scrutiny. The move, impacting not only Activision Blizzard but also Microsoft’s Xbox division and ZeniMax, has raised concerns about potential antitrust violations following Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard. The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) expressed apprehensions regarding its ability to enforce corrective measures in case the acquisition violates antitrust laws, signaling regulatory scrutiny on the tech giant.

The layoffs, disclosed by Microsoft’s gaming chief Phil Spencer, signify one of the largest job cut rounds in the gaming industry for the month. Departures of prominent figures like Blizzard President Mike Ybarra and co-founder Allen Adham highlight significant leadership changes within the gaming conglomerate. Furthermore, the impact extends to various departments, including Blizzard’s esports division and subsidiary studio Toys for Bob, as well as personnel involved in the development of Blizzard’s unreleased survival game, codenamed Odyssey.

Microsoft defended its decision, citing a strategic reallocation of resources towards projects with higher growth potential. However, the timing of the layoffs, amidst ongoing regulatory scrutiny and merger review, raises questions about Microsoft’s commitment to the autonomy of Activision Blizzard post-acquisition. As Microsoft navigates this delicate balance between business objectives and regulatory compliance, the gaming industry observes closely, anticipating the implications of these strategic decisions.