A few hours ago, Xbox CEO Phil Spencer sent a company-wide email to all full-time employees of Microsoft’s gaming divisions. A copy of the email was shared with Kotaku by a current Xbox employee, we have confirmed its authenticity and the full text is transcribed below:
This has been a tough week at Microsoft and here within our teams. Now that many of the 1:1 and team conversations have occurred, I want to take a moment to reiterate the message that you heard from your leaders.
This is a challenging time in our business, and this week’s actions were painful choices. The Games Leadership Team had to make decisions that we felt set us up for the long-term success of our products and businesses, but the individual results of those decisions are real. I know that hurts. Thank you for supporting our colleagues as they process these changes.
In the coming weeks we will have many opportunities to connect and answer your questions, including the monthly game update next week for the teams that attend that meeting, and I am in close contact with the ZeniMax teams to provide support. The GLT and I are committed to being as transparent as possible. Moving forward with ambiguity is challenging, but I am confident that together we will get through this difficult time.
Xbox has a long history of success thanks to the work it does in service to gamers, creators and each other. His work is highly appreciated and valued in these changing times and is an integral part of driving our business forward. I am confident in our future and I am proud to be part of this team, but I am also aware that this is a challenging time and I want to thank you for all you do here.
On January 18, Microsoft laid off 10,000 employees throughout the company. These layoffs included game studios like 343 Industries, The Coalition, ZeniMax Media, and Bethesda Game Studios. xbox has struggled to launch own titles last yearand is under tremendous pressure to release flashy blockbuster titles like star field. Some of the people who have lost their jobs include senior talentand it happened a year after the publisher flogged pocket change for Activision buys Blizzard for $70 billion. Kotaku reached out to Microsoft for a statement, but did not receive a response at press time.
“This feels like something you send out of obligation,” a current Xbox employee wrote in text messages to Kotaku. “I seriously doubt any of those monthly game updates or other gatherings are going to do anything to make anyone feel better.”
The CODE-CWA Tech Workers Union post a statement on January 19, stating that its representatives have been in contact with Microsoft. The company “recognizes its obligation to negotiate any proposed termination of CWA members at ZeniMax.” The ZeniMax union intends to negotiate “alternatives to layoffs.”
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