Amazon Lays Off More Than 100 Employees In Its Video Games Division

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Amazon has laid off roughly 100 employees across its video games division as part of a broader cutback initiative, which will see up to 9,000 employees cut loose from the company, as hinted in March by CEO Andy Jassy, CNBC and Bloomberg has reported. Workers at Amazon’s Prime Gaming, Game Growth, and the company’s San Diego studio were affected, according to an internal memo drafted by Christoph Hartmann, vice president of Amazon Games, who described the terminations as being a “difficult decision.” Amazon’s games include New World, an MMO that enjoyed a successful launch but had some controversy, with some players claiming that it was killing their graphics cards.

From a Hartmann memo:

Hello everyone,

I want to take a moment to make you aware of some changes happening today across the Games business and outline our path forward.

It is my firm belief that we have a unique opportunity to become one of the leading publishers of high-quality gaming content that delights players for years — whether that’s creating our own games internally, publishing titles from talented developers like Bandai Namco and Crystal Dynamics, providing entertaining shows on Crown Channel, or offering great content via Prime Gaming. Delivering the best content for players is at the center of what we do, and today’s changes are aimed at focusing our teams toward that commitment.

After evaluating our current projects against our long-term goals, the Games leadership team made the difficult decision to eliminate just over 100 roles across Prime Gaming, Game Growth and in our San Diego studio, while also reassigning some employees to other projects that match our strategic focus. Each employee whose role has been eliminated should now have a live meeting scheduled this morning so we can discuss these changes directly and give each employee an opportunity to ask questions. There is never a pleasant way to share this sort of news, but we are committed to treating our impacted employees with empathy and respect, and will support them by offering them severance pay, health insurance benefits, outplacement services, and paid time to conduct their job search.

Going forward, our resources will be aligned to support our focus on content. We will continue to invest in our internal development efforts, and our teams will continue to grow as our projects progress: The New World team in Irvine will grow as we shift some resources to further support its continued development. Our studio in Montreal will continue to expand, and is making great progress on their unannounced project. And the San Diego studio will double down on the pre-production phase of their unannounced game, as that project is not yet ready for a full production size team. We will also continue expanding our publishing efforts, and we remain very active in exploring and signing new projects where we see great potential, such as our recent publishing agreement with NCSOFT. And finally, we are optimizing our retail and backend focused teams to ensure Amazon Games and Prime Gaming deliver strong value and rich experiences for our customers, and are adjusting the team sizes accordingly.

I recognize that the impact of these decisions is not just to the business, but to our teammates and friends. It never feels good to say goodbye to colleagues, and I thank you for supporting them as they work through this change. We respect this is a difficult time and that you may have questions or concerns. Your manager, L8 business leader and HRBPs are available for conversations. In addition, if you’re interested, a licensed counselor is available to speak with you by phone 24/7 through our (US Phone: 1-833-721-2323).

I am confident in the direction we are headed. Amazon Games has gained momentum over the past couple of years thanks to your hard work, dedication and commitment to players. We’ve launched two games and have seven more projects announced, with even more in the pipeline, in addition to the new Crown shows and Prime Gaming content we have lined up. Thank you to each and every one of you for showing up every day to make that happen. If you have questions or need to connect, please reach out to me or your team leads.


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Tsing Mui
News poster at The FPS Review.

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