Microsoft is laying off 1,900 Activision Blizzard and Xbox employees

Blizzard team,

As you may have read in Phil’s note, today is a challenging day as we say goodbye to some of our colleagues. This is a difficult process, but it is one that will best position Blizzard and Xbox to deliver ambitious games for our players on more platforms and in more places than ever before. We are moving forward with a more focused strategy for Microsoft Gaming that positions us for sustainable growth and aligns our talent and resources with our top priorities.

In addition to today’s events, Mike Ybarra and I have been discussing his future and some of his personal passions for some time. As many of you know, Mike previously worked at Microsoft for over twenty years. Now that he has completed the acquisition as president of Blizzard, he has decided to leave the company. As we move forward, we will continue to build on the positive momentum Mike has created and strive to continue to exceed the expectations of Blizzard’s players. I would like to thank Mike for his leadership and for his partnership and advice since closing the deal. I know he plans to travel and spend more time with his family. We wish him all the best.

Additionally, Blizzard Chief Design Officer Allen Adham is leaving the company. As one of Blizzard’s co-founders, Allen has had a broad impact on all of Blizzard’s games. His influence will be felt in the years to come, both directly and indirectly, as Allen plans to continue mentoring young designers across the industry.

The new Blizzard president will be announced next week.

What happens now

Those affected will be informed during meetings starting today. Given the challenging day ahead, anyone who wants to work from home and would prefer to do so can work remotely today. Due to time zones and local holidays, some affected employees in APAC and EMEA will be notified later tonight and early next week. After notifications are completed, leaders will bring their teams together. Please keep this process in mind during your conversations and outreach in the coming days.

Details about today’s actions

The changes announced today reflect a focus on products and strategies that hold the most promise for Blizzard’s future growth, as well as identified areas of overlap between Blizzard and Microsoft Gaming. Today’s actions impact multiple teams within Blizzard, including development teams, shared service organizations, and business functions. As part of this focus, Blizzard is ending development of its survival game project and will transfer some of the people working on it to one of the many promising new projects Blizzard has in the early stages of development.

Whatever the reason behind these decisions, they are never taken lightly. Changes like these impact the lives of colleagues and friends, and we are all grateful for their meaningful contributions to Blizzard and its world-class family of games. As Phil stated, we will provide our full support to those affected during the transition, including severance payments based on local labor law.

I understand that this is a challenging time and it can be a lot to process. I have not met many of you yet, and it may be difficult to hear from me about these decisions. Today I am here at Blizzard’s Irvine campus and I am personally committed to supporting you as teams and individuals, keeping you informed, and approaching this transition period with care and transparency.

Thank you for working with us on these changes. Together we will continue to make great games for our players, with a culture that empowers everyone to be their most authentic selves and do their best work.

– Matt

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