This year has arguably been the best year ever for video games; it was undoubtedly one of the worst for those who made them. Throughout the year, studios were shut down, thousands were laid off, and developers were disrespectfully given 30 seconds to shine on the Game Awards 2023 stage after winning awards. Over 10,000 developers were laid off in 2023, and unfortunately, it felt like we were writing a story about studio layoffs once a week.
In January, Microsoft laid off 10,000 employees as part of its pending $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard, which closed in October.
Striking Distance Studios, the team behind last year’s Callisto Protocol, laid off more than 30 employees in August. The same month, Mass Effect and Dragon Age developer BioWare laid off 50 employees, including longtime studio veterans. The following month, in September, Immortals of Aveum developer Ascendant Studios laid off approximately 45% of its staff, and Fortnite developer Epic Games laid off 830 employees.
In October, The Last of Us developer Naughty Dog laid off at least 25 employees, and Telltale Games was also laid off, although the actual number of employees affected 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 around 100 developers, and 505 Games parent company Digital Bros laid off 30% of its staff.
This month, Embracer Group shuttered its reformed TimeSplitters studio, Free Radical Design, and earlier this year, Embracer shuttered Saints Row developer Volition Games, a studio with over 30 years of development history. A few weeks before the holidays, Hasbro, owner of Dungeons & Dragons and Magic: The Gathering, laid off 1,100 employees.
The video game industry will surely feel the effects of such a horrible year for years to come. The hearts of Game Informer staff stands with everyone who has been affected by layoffs or closures this year.
Gn En tech