How video game industry is feeling the pinch of Big Tech layoffs


Job cuts in the tech industry have led to a lot of grim headlines lately. This is a trend that the video game industry is largely immune to.

In fact, at one point there was a website called videogamelayoffs.com that had a counter that displayed “days since last mass layoff” in seconds.

The story went like this: executives overhired employees before the release of the big game, worked their employees to the bone, and fired employees en masse when the fruits of their labor lined the walls of GameStop. To do.

That video game layoff website hasn’t been updated since 2021, but below is a rough rundown of some of the recent pink slips.

Microsoft this week announced 10,000 job cuts for 2021, including 343 Industries, the company behind it. Hello Infinite, Bethesda Game Studios is the maker of the future. star field.

league of legends Riot Games, a developer owned by China’s Tencent Holdings, has cut dozens of jobs in its publishing, hiring and esports departments.

Riot said it plans to hire 150 positions and that the cuts “no longer make sense for us.”

Game engine company Unity Software has announced a second round of job cuts, laying off 284 employees within a year and cutting its sports and live entertainment divisions.

And in December, Israeli gaming company Playtika Holding laid off more than 600 employees.

Given numbers like these, it’s no wonder last year saw the biggest union move ever in the gaming industry, as workers seek to shield themselves from economic shifts and secure better wages.

It may sound sketchy, but the factors behind these decisions are different than they were ten years ago.

Indeed, employees, especially temporary workers, still struggle with job insecurity after the game’s release.

But game releases are no longer the single biggest driver of employee employment stability.

A deeper integration of the industry with big tech — see pending Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard — and a growing reliance on advertising and new models of game development mean that the narrative of games’ work has become one of “expansion and recession.” It means that it merges with the broader technology story of ‘collision’.

The tech industry has announced plans to cut more than 100,000 jobs over the past few months. Businesses have grown rapidly during the flash times of the pandemic and now admit they are facing a new economic reality.

Executives at Alphabet, the parent company of Amazon, Microsoft and Google, have all sent emails apologizing to employees.

“I don’t think this is about games. I think it’s about technology,” says Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter, who tracks the gaming industry.

There was a time when the gaming industry was thought to be recession-proof.

Gaming is not a recession-proof industry.Games really respond to the market

Laine Nooney, Assistant Professor of Media Industry, New York University

Higher unemployment seemed to correlate with more people having controllers freely in their hands. Recent trends have exploded that idea.

“Gaming is not a recession-proof industry,” says Laine Nooney, assistant professor of media industry at New York University.

“Games are really market sensitive.”

Despite the recent bad news, things could turn around this year.

After spending most of last year in post-corona funk, some analysts expect a rebound in 2023 as games were postponed and spending dropped an estimated 4.3%.

After all, they have the most stacked game release lineup in years.

Update: Jan 22, 2023, 4:00 AM




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