Twitch To Lay Off 500 Employees
Last year was one of the best years for game releases but easily one of the worst for the people who made them, with more than 10,000 workers laid off by various companies, including Microsoft, Epic Games, BioWare, Bungie, Naughty Dog, and many more. Unfortunately, it seems this heartbreaking trend is continuing into this new year as yesterday, Bloomberg reported that Amazon-owned streaming company Twitch is set to lay off 500 employees, or about 35 percent of its staff.
These layoffs follow two rounds of layoffs Twitch experienced last year. Bloomberg expects the layoffs to be announced today. As for why, the publication says running Twitch is extremely expensive and the company has struggled to financially get on top of the cost to support billions of hours of livestreamed content.
Just last year, Twitch's chief revenue officer, chief content officer, chief customer officer, and chief product officer left the company. Plus, in December, Twitch announced it would be ending its service in South Korea. And, according to Bloomberg, Twitch has worked on increasing its advertising in recent years but despite that focus, it has remained "unprofitable," its sources say.
These 500 cut jobs expected to happen today join 400 positions cut over 2023 at Twitch, and these layoffs join an ever-growing list of layoffs that made last year one of the worst ever for game developers and people in game development-adjacent industries.
Striking Distance Studios, the team behind 2022's The Callisto Protocol, laid off more than 30 employees in August of 2023. That same month, Mass Effect and Dragon Age developer BioWare laid off 50 employees, including long-time studio veterans. The following month, in September, Immortals of Aveum developer Ascendant Studios laid off roughly 45% of its staff, and Fortnite developer Epic Games laid off 830 employees.
In October of last year, The Last of Us developer Naughty Dog laid off at least 25 employees, and Telltale Games also underwent layoffs, although an actual number of affected employees has not yet been revealed. Dreams developer Media Molecule laid off 20 employees in late October.
In November, Amazon Games laid off 180 staff members, Ubisoft laid off more than 100 employees, Bungie laid off roughly 100 developers, and 505 Games' parent company, Digital Bros, laid off 30% of its staff.
In December, Embracer Group closed its reformed TimeSplitters studio, Free Radical Design, and earlier in the year, Embracer closed Saints Row developer Volition Games, a studio with more than 30 years of development history. A few weeks before the winter holidays, Dungeons & Dragons and Magic: The Gathering owner Hasbro laid off 1,100 employees.
The games industry will surely feel the effects of such horrific layoffs for years to come. The hearts of the Game Informer staff are with everyone who's been affected by layoffs or closures.