October 3, 2023

Amazon is laying off about 100 employees in its video game division, an executive overseeing the unit wrote in a memo to employees on Tuesday.

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The layoffs included employees at Game Growth Group, Amazon’s San Diego gaming studio, and Prime Gaming, an offering targeted to members of Amazon’s Mainstream loyalty program, Christoph Hartmann, vice president of Amazon Games, wrote in the memo. “Some employees have also been assigned to other projects that match our strategic focus,” Hartmann said.

“This type of news is never a pleasant way to share, but we are committed to treating our affected employees with empathy and respect, and providing them with severance pay, health insurance benefits, outplacement services and payment for operating Will support them by offering time off in their job search,” he said.

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The cuts come as Amazon CEO Andy Jassy has moved to rein in costs across the company. Last month, JC announced that Amazon would lay off an additional 9,000 employees on top of a previous round of cuts totaling more than 18,000 people. The company has also instituted a hiring freeze on its corporate workforce, and it has shut down some experimental projects, such as a telehealth service and sidewalk delivery robots.

On Tuesday afternoon, Amazon began notifying employees that they were being pulled into meetings with human resources, according to an affected employee. This person requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak on the matter.

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Since launching in 2013, Amazon Games has struggled to make a hit despite a number of published projects, and the company attracting top talent from the likes of Sony Online Entertainment. Amazon released Crucible, its first big-budget game in 2020, then canceled the free-to-play shooter within months. A year later, Amazon released the PC game New World, which enjoyed some early success, and it tried to capitalize on the buzz last February by launching the online action role-playing game Lost Ark.

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Amazon’s video game division has also experienced some turnover among its top ranks. Mike Frazzini, who helped launch Amazon’s Game Studios, stepped down last March. And in January, John Smedley, the head of Amazon Games’ San Diego studio, dropped out of company,

An Amazon spokeswoman confirmed the layoffs and the existence of the memo but declined further comment.

Here’s Hartman’s full memo: