Amazon's gaming division has cut 180 jobs in what continues to be a terrible year for the gaming industry. These layoffs are felt throughout many of Amazon's gaming teams and come as part of the company's bid to restructure its Prime Gaming business.
These layoffs were just confirmed by Amazon in a statement to Aftermath, which first reported on the job cuts. Amazon Games says that it is aware that this will be "difficult news" for those affected, but that the move was necessary to enable the company to "focus [its] resources" on "deliver[ing] great games to players now and in the future."
With Amazon, a company valued at $1.48 trillion, joining in on game industry layoffs, it leaves many losing hope in gaming as a sustainable source of work. If 2023 has proven anything, it's that no company is immune to mass layoffs and that being owned by an industry giant can be more of a risk factor than a safety net.
"It never feels good to say goodbye to colleagues," says Amazon Games head Christoph Hartmann, in an email to staff, seen by Aftermath.
"This isn’t a decision the leadership team came to quickly; it was the result of extensive considerations and road mapping for our future [...] after further evaluation of our businesses, it became clear that we need [sic] focus our resources and efforts to deliver great games to players now and in the future."
While it's true that Prime Gaming is hardly up there with the likes of Xbox Game Pass in terms of market dominance, it's not clear why Amazon can't keep these 180 workers on in some capcity. Even in its gaming division, it has numerous teams working on games and services, and that's not getting into the other opportunities within Amazon at large.
In any case, this is 180 more game industry workers that are now out of a job, and so close to the holidays too. Just before this, Ubisoft laid off 124 workers in the name of improving "efficiency." Before that, it was Bungie's turn, becoming yet another Sony-owned studio to cut jobs. Before that, Epic Games cut 900 jobs. This list could go on until we get to early 2023 when big Microsoft-owned studios laid off their employees.
It remains to be seen if Amazon is the last major studio to announce huge cuts like this, but with the way the industry is moving, it's understandable that many game devs won't be feeling particularly safe in their jobs, even as their work is celebrated at shows like The Game Awards.
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