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Microsoft cuts 1,900 jobs in gaming, including at division with Dublin and Cork offices

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Microsoft will lay off 1,900 people across its video-game divisions including at Activision Blizzard, which has offices in Dublin and Cork. The tech giant purchased Activision for $69 billion in an acquisition that closed late last year.

In an email to staff, Microsoft gaming chief Phil Spencer wrote that the cuts represented about 8 per cent of Microsoft’s 22,000 gaming workers. The Verge first reported the news. Other video-game companies, including Riot Games, have also enacted mass lay-offs.

“Together, we’ve set priorities, identified areas of overlap, and ensured that we’re all aligned on the best opportunities for growth,” Mr Spencer wrote.

It is as yet unclear how the plan will affect the company’s Irish-based staff, who number in the hundreds across operations.

‘To blame the lowest paid for challenges in our economy is cheap’

Blizzard Entertainment is also making big changes as part of the cuts, cancelling a survival game code-named Odyssey and parting ways with president Mike Ybarra and chief design officer Allen Adham, the company’s co-founder.

In a note to staff, Microsoft Studios president Matt Booty said that Mr Ybarra “has decided to leave the company.” At the BlizzCon convention in November, Mr Ybarra said in an interview that he wanted to stay at the company for the long haul. “Someone will drag me out of Blizzard,” he said. “That’s how long I will be here.”

On Thursday, Mr Ybarra announced his departure in a post on X, the website formerly known as Twitter. “Having already spent 20+ years at Microsoft and with the acquisition of Activision Blizzard behind us, it’s time for me to (once again) become Blizzard’s biggest fan from the outside,” Mr Ybarra wrote.

More than 60 other tech companies, including Amazon and Google parent Alphabet, have let go almost 11,000 employees so far this year, according to Layoffs.fyi, which tracks tech industry job cuts.

The moves arrive just three months after Microsoft finalised the Activision Blizzard acquisition. In an email to staff reviewed by Bloomberg, Activision Publishing chief Rob Kostich wrote that the cuts were made “to reset and realign our resources for the future.”

Next week, on January 30th, Microsoft will report its quarterly earnings. – Bloomberg

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