How the video game industry is feeling the Big Tech sacking.


Job cuts in the tech industry have led to a lot of sad news lately. It’s a trend that the video game industry can hardly defend against.

In fact, there was once a website called videogamelayoffs.com, with a second timer for “days since the last mass layoff.”

The story goes: Executives argue before a big game’s release, work their employees to the bone, and once the fruits of their labor line the walls of GameStop, fire employees en masse.

That video game release website hasn’t been updated since 2021, but below is a rundown of some of the latest pink slips.

Microsoft announced this week that the company will cut 10,000 jobs across 343 industries by 2021. Halo Infinite, and Bethesda Game Studios, the creator of Advent Starfield.

league of legends Developer Riot Games, owned by China’s Tencent Holdings, has laid off dozens of people in its publishing, recruiting and e-sports departments.

Riot said it plans to hire for 150 positions and that the roles “just don’t make sense for us anymore.”

Game engine company Unity Software has announced that it is laying off 284 employees in less than a year.

And in December, Israeli game company Pletica Holding laid off more than 600 workers.

With those kinds of numbers, it’s no wonder there’s been one of the biggest union pushbacks in the gaming industry in the past year, as workers seek to save themselves from economic dislocation and get better pay.

It sounds difficult, but the reasons behind these decisions are different than they were ten years ago.

To be sure, workers, especially standby workers, will still suffer from job insecurity after the game’s release.

But gaming startups are no longer the biggest factor in employee job security.

The industry’s deeper integration with Big Tech – see Microsoft’s pending acquisition of Activision Blizzard – more reliance on advertising and new models for game development, where the narrative of the game’s work merges with the broader history of technology;

The tech industry has announced plans to shed more than 100,000 jobs in the past few months, as companies have been overwhelmed by the pandemic and are now facing a new economic reality.

Executives from Amazon, Microsoft and Google’s parent company Alphabet have all sent written emails to employees.

“I don’t think this is a game thing. I think it’s a technology thing,” says Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter, who tracks the gaming industry.

There was a time when the gaming industry was considered infallible.

Games are not a recession-proof industry. Games really respond to markets

Lane Nooney, Assistant Professor of Media Industries, New York University

A high unemployment rate seems to correlate with more people having a free hand to hold a supervisor. Recent trends have exploded that idea.

“Games are not a recession-proof industry,” said Laine Noni, assistant professor of media industries at New York University.

“Games really respond to markets.”

Despite the recent bad news, things may look better this year.

After spending most of last year out of a Covid funk, with games delayed and spending down an estimated 4.3 percent, some analysts are banking on 2023 for a recovery.

After all, it’s got the most stacked game release lineup in years.

Updated: January 22, 2023, 4:00 am





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