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Microsoft mass layoffs reportedly impact Bethesda, Halo Infinite teams

10,000 employees are losing their jobs

A group of Spartans (Master Chief) fight cooperatively in a still from Halo Infinite. Image: 343 Industries/Xbox Game Studios
Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

Microsoft announced Wednesday that it will be cutting 10,000 jobs over the next two months, slashing about 5% of its overall workforce. CEO Satya Nadella did not detail precisely where those cuts would take place at the company, but noted in a letter to employees there would be “changes to our hardware portfolio,” which could impact Microsoft’s HoloLens, Surface, and PC accessories business, The Verge reports.

According to Bloomberg, Microsoft’s layoffs are also affecting the Xbox division’s games teams, with reported cuts at Starfield developer Bethesda Game Studios and Halo Infinite developer 343 Industries. The number of layoffs impacting the games teams is unknown, and when contacted for clarification, a Microsoft spokesperson declined to comment. Bloomberg reporter Jason Schreier said on Twitter that sources said 343 Industries was “hit hard.”

A report from Kotaku corroborated Bloomberg’s reporting, and noted that employees at Gears of War studio The Coalition were also affected. That studio is currently working on “several unannounced projects,” Xbox games marketing VP Aaron Greenberg said last year.

The cuts at Microsoft will surely cast a shadow over next week’s developer-led showcase on upcoming Xbox games: The Xbox Developer Direct livestream, planned for Jan. 25, promises updates on ZeniMax Online Studios’ The Elder Scrolls Online, Arkane Studios’ Redfall, Mojang’s Minecraft Legends, and Turn 10 Studios’ Forza Motorsport. Bethesda’s Starfield will get a stand-alone presentation at a later date, Microsoft says.

Nadella said that, despite the mass layoffs, Microsoft will “continue to hire in key strategic areas.” The company is currently working to bring some 9,800 employees from Activision Blizzard into the Microsoft fold, as part of the Xbox maker’s planned $68.7 billion acquisition.

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