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Twitch lays off hundreds amid Amazon cuts

Four hundred of the 9,000 laid off workers were from the streaming platform

Illustration featuring purple and pink graphic lines and a Twitch logo Illustration: Ariel Davis for Polygon
Nicole Carpenter is a senior reporter specializing in investigative features about labor issues in the game industry, as well as the business and culture of games.

More than 400 Twitch workers were impacted by Amazon’s expansive layoffs announced Monday, according to a memo from new Twitch CEO Dan Clancy. The company cut 9,000 jobs total across its Amazon Web Services, human resources, Twitch, and advertising divisions. News of the layoffs comes days after former Twitch CEO Emmett Shear stepped down from that role.

Twitch employees were not told if they were impacted ahead of the announcement; they still don’t know, and will hear “no later than early next week,” according to an email from Clancy reviewed by Polygon. Two workers confirmed this to Polygon; one said Amazon CEO Andy Jassy’s update on the layoffs caused confusion among staff. (Both employees were granted anonymity as they were not authorized to speak to press.)

“I’m disappointed to share the news this way before we’re able to communicate directly to those who will be impacted, but it’s important for you to hear directly from me confirming this difficult news,” Clancy wrote in the email to staff.

Clancy’s public memo blamed the layoff on “the current macroeconomic environment,” saying user and revenue growth did not meet expectations. “In order to run our business sustainably, we’ve made the very difficult decision to shrink the size of our workforce,” Clancy said.

Twitch declined to comment further, nor would it confirm Twitch’s total headcount.

Twitch was founded as in 2007 before rebranding to Twitch Interactive in 2014. Amazon purchased the streaming platform for $1 billion that same year. Twitch had a particularly successful run during the pandemic. The platform, already dominating the streaming space, was more popular than ever. Twitch’s viewership numbers have declined, but they’re still high.

This is Amazon’s second round of layoffs this year, with more than 18,000 people cut from the company in January. That wave of layoffs was largely focused on Amazon Stores, which includes its comics business, Comixology.

It feels like a different tech company is announcing layoffs every day, and it’s extended into the video game industry, too. Microsoft’s 10,000 cut jobs impacted studios like Bethesda and 343 Industries, which make the upcoming Starfield and Halo Infinite, respectively. Unity Software, which makes the products people use to make games, and Riot Games are among the other studios that laid off workers. Why are these layoffs happening? Official reasons differ, but it usually comes down to growth reportedly slowing after the big tech boom during the pandemic. Companies want to save money, but whether layoffs actually cut costs it debatable, according The Verge.

Update: This story has been updated to include new information from Twitch employees.

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