Video game layoff season – an extension of what has basically at this point become video game layoff year – is in full swing, and now Amazon is getting in on it, Aftermath reported.
Two sources with knowledge of the layoffs told Aftermath that Amazon is eliminating 180 positions in its games division. This includes the entirety of Crown Channel, an Amazon-backed Twitch channel, and the Game Growth team, with a larger goal of refocusing around Prime Gaming, a portion of the company’s Amazon Prime subscription that offers free games and in-game content.
Amazon confirmed the news and provided a copy of the internal email received by employees:
“We’ve listened to our customers and we know that delivering free games every month is what they want most, so we are refining our Prime benefit to increase our focus there. With these changes in our business approach come changes to our resourcing, resulting in the elimination of just over 180 roles,” wrote Christoph Hartmann, VP of Amazon Games, in the email to employees.
TechCrunch reported that Amazon announced another cluster of layoffs this week along with plans to discontinue Crown Channel, a flashy Amazon-run Twitch channel that featured television-like programming. Amazon will also shutter its Game Growth group, which helped creators in the gaming world market themselves.
According to Amazon spokesperson Brittney Hefner, the restructuring will focus on Amazon’s gaming efforts on its “primary business” of creating games in-house – like New World, its 2021 massive multiplayer title and a forthcoming Lord of the Rings game – and publishing games from outside developers.
CNBC reported that Amazon will close its Game Growth and Crown Channel initiatives as part of restructuring. Now, Amazon will focus on upcoming launches such as Throne and Liberty and Blue Protocol, as well as future initiatives such as Tomb Raider and The Lord of the Rings games, Christoph Hartmann, vice president of Amazon Games, wrote in the memo to employees.
Shares of Amazon closed down less than 1% on Monday.
According to CNBC, the latest job cuts come as CEO Andy Jassy has been in cost-cutting mode over the past year as the company has battled high interest rates and inflation. As a result, Amazon has carried out the largest layoffs in history, cutting 27,000 jobs since last fall. The company also froze corporate hiring, and Jassy has looked to trim expenses in units across the company.
In my opinion, Amazon’s decision to lay off more workers right before the holiday season is a terrible decision. Companies who choose to lay off workers at this time are making it extremely difficult for those they let go to find another good playing job.