Amazon’s ongoing layoffs now include those more directly involved in game production. The company has provided an internal memo from gaming VP Christoph Hartmann (originally shared by Bloomberg) announcing layoffs of “just over” 100 employees across gaming divisions that include Prime Gaming, Game Growth and Amazon Games’ San Diego studio. The internet giant is also reassigning workers to projects that fit its “strategic focus,” the executive says.
The teams in Irvine (which develops the online RPG New World) and Montreal (on an unannounced project) will continue to grow, Hartmann adds. Amazon’s publishing efforts will also expand. Laid off employees are already being notified, and will get severance pay, health benefits and paid time to find new jobs.
The company hasn’t elaborated on the reasons for the layoffs. In his memo, Hartmann says the cuts come after Amazon weighed its ongoing projects against its “long-term goals.” The company tells Report Door it doesn’t have more to share beyond the note.
Amazon’s game development efforts haven’t fared well. The company is only offering New World at the moment. Its attempt at a free-to-play shooter, Crucible, was only briefly available to the public and was shut down after just a few months. There has also been turmoil at the San Diego location. John Smedley, a Sony Online Entertainment veteran who ran Amazon Games’ San Diego studio for six years, said in January that he would leave after a transition period.
The news comes just weeks after Amazon outlined plans to slash 9,000 positions, including some at the livestreaming service Twitch. The tech giant is looking to reduce costs company-wide while dealing with a turbulent global economy and the effects of the pandemic recovery. In that context, the gaming layoffs represent a small piece of a larger strategy.