Blizzard’s highly anticipated survival game, announced in January 2022, has been abruptly canceled amidst Microsoft’s extensive layoffs, just four months after finalizing the $69 billion Activision Blizzard acquisition.
The untitled project aimed to revolutionize gaming on PCs and consoles with its promise of fresh narratives and characters, attracting talent during its development phase.
Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer confirmed the game’s termination in an internal memo, citing a shift of resources to other promising ventures within Blizzard.
The layoffs, affecting 1,900 employees, signify an 8.64% reduction in Microsoft’s gaming division, impacting various Blizzard teams and corporate functions.
Additionally, Matt Booty, Microsoft’s game content and studios president, highlighted the restructuring’s aim to streamline operations and foster growth opportunities.
Despite the setbacks, promises of sustainable growth and enhanced game development capabilities for Blizzard and Xbox were emphasized.
The layoffs mark a series of significant departures, including Blizzard President Mike Ybarra and chief design officer Allen Adham, amidst the recent exit of Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick.
Microsoft’s restructuring aligns with its overarching strategy post-acquisition, aiming to optimize operations and deliver innovative gaming experiences in a rapidly evolving market.
Microsoft announced its plans to acquire Activision Blizzard in January 2022 for $68.7 billion, making it the largest acquisition in Microsoft’s history.
The acquisition was completed on October 13, 2023, after nearly a year of struggles with governmental anti-trust agencies investigating the deal.
In 2023, Microsoft downsized its payroll by 16,000 through a combination of layoffs and slower hiring practices.
Globally, the company still employs over 200,000 and its gaming division accounts for 22,000 of that number.