Amazon Games is hit with another round of layoffs, but the MMORPGs are not affected

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Amazon Games is queueing up its second layoff of the year: According to Aftermath, the company has laid off another 180 games workers, adding to the 100+ games workers laid off back in April. It’s a relatively small chunk of the 27,000 workers the company has discharged over the last year, in spite of huge revenues.

Amazon Games VP Christoph Hartmann told staffers that it “listened to [its] customers” and is “refining [its] Prime benefit to increase our focus” on monthly free games, thereby necessitating “changes in [its] business approach” that led to “changes to its resourcing” and therefore the elimination of 180 jobs.

Apparently, the largest chunk of the layoffs hit the Crown Channel Twitch production, but it’s not clear that other teams weren’t also hit. We reached out to Amazon Games PR for a statement for MMORPG players, asking about the impact on live MMOs New World and Lost Ark, pending ports like MMOs like Blue Protocol and Throne & Liberty, and the other in-production titles like the LOTR MMO. We’ll update when we have clarity. In the meantime, our sympathies extend to the workers affected. [Updated below.]

Update

Two minutes after publication, Amazon confirmed to MassivelyOP that the MMORPGs were not affected. “Amazon Games’ primary business is developing games (including New World and several other games that are in active development, like our The Lord of the Rings game) and publishing externally developed games (Lost Ark and upcoming games like Blue Protocol and Throne and Liberty),” an Amazon rep told us this evening. “The cuts made today are all in service of focusing efforts on making and publishing video games. Our studios and development teams were not impacted today. We will continue to support Prime Gaming as a benefit of Amazon Prime membership, but have refined that specific offering to focus on ‘Free Games with Prime.’” [Emphasis ours.] Here’s Hartmann’s whole letter to staff, which makes clear that the layoffs are focused on Crown Channel and Game Growth.

Hello everyone,

I have some important news to share with you all today about the future of our business.

As I’ve shared previously, our goal for Amazon Games is to become one of the leading creators of high-quality gaming content that delights players for years to come. Part of this bold vision involves experimentation as we explore what gamers want most and we regularly review these experiments to ensure we’re creating the most impact.

After our initial restructuring in April, it became clear that we needed to focus our resources even more on the areas that are growing with the highest potential to drive our business forward. As such, the leadership team and I have made the difficult decision to close two of our initiatives – Crown Channel and Game Growth. We are also refocusing our efforts for Prime Gaming. We’ve listened to our customers and we know delivering free games every month is what they want most, so we are refining our Prime benefit to increase our focus there. With these changes in our business approach come changes to our resourcing, resulting in the elimination of just over 180 roles.

I know this is difficult news and that the impact will be felt widely. It never feels good to say goodbye to colleagues. This isn’t a decision the leadership team came to quickly; it was the result of extensive considerations and road mapping for our future. We are proud of the work the teams have been doing, pushing into new areas with weekly content on Crown Channel, and finding more ways to help publishers reach new audiences with Game Growth. But after further evaluation of our businesses, it became clear that we need focus our resources and efforts to deliver great games to players now and in the future.

Each employee whose role has been impacted should now have a live meeting scheduled this morning so we can discuss these changes directly. We are also working to ensure all impacted employees are given the support they need on an individual level, including severance pay, outplacement services, health insurance benefits and more. Your managers, business leaders and HRBPs are available for conversations and we have a licensed counselor available 24/7 through our Employee Assistance Program (US Phone: 1-833-721-2323, outside of the US, please click here for contact information).

I recognize that this is the second time this year that you are hearing about org-wide team changes and seeing colleagues go, so let me be very clear when I say this: I remain confident in our future. We are developing and publishing great games with high potential, our studio teams are growing, and our roadmap is bright. We are focused on our upcoming publishing launches for Throne and Liberty and Blue Protocol, as well as future projects like our Tomb Raider and The Lord of the Rings games, and our projects with Glowmade and Disruptive Games. Our internal studios are actively recruiting and hiring to fill critical roles as they develop new IP, while Prime Gaming continues to secure deals and deliver compelling content for members every month. We are committed to our vision of becoming one of the leading developers and publishers of high-quality games, and focusing our resources accordingly will help us get there.”

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