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A few hours ago, Xbox CEO Phil Spencer sent out a company-wide email to all full-time employees in 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 has been transcribed below:
This has been a difficult week for Microsoft and here on our teams. After many of the 1:1 and team meetings have taken place, I want to take a moment to reiterate the message you heard from your leaders.
This is a challenging moment in our business and this week’s actions have been painful decisions. The Gaming Leadership Team has had to make decisions that we believe have positioned us for the long-term success of our products and business, but the individual outcomes of those decisions are real. I know this hurts. Thank you for helping our colleagues process these changes.
In the coming weeks we will have many opportunities to network and answer your questions, including next week’s monthly gaming update for teams attending this meeting, and I’m in close contact with the teams at ZeniMax for support afford to. GLT and I are committed to being as transparent as possible. Moving forward with uncertainty is a challenge, but I am confident that together we will get through this difficult moment.
Xbox has a long history of success thanks to the work they do to serve gamers, developers, and each other. Your work is so valued and appreciated during these times of change and is an integral part of our business dynamic. I am confident in our future and proud to be part of this team, but I also recognize that this is a challenging time and I want to thank you for everything you are doing here.
On January 18, Microsoft laid off 10,000 employees across the company. These layoffs included game studios such as 343 Industries, The Coalition, ZeniMax Media, and Bethesda Game Studios. Xbox has struggled to release first-party titles over the past year and is under intense pressure to ship flashy blockbuster titles like Starfield. Some of the people who have lost their jobs are high-profile talent, a year after the publisher splurged on the loose change to buy Activision Blizzard for $70 billion. Kotaku has reached out to Microsoft for comment, but has received no response at the time of publication.
“It feels like something you’re sending out voluntarily,” a recent Xbox employee wrote to Kotaku via text. “I seriously doubt any of these monthly gaming updates or other meetings are going to do anything to make anyone feel better.”
The Tech Workers’ Union CODE-CWA make a statement on January 19 and stated that their representatives had been in contact with Microsoft. The company “recognizes its obligation to negotiate proposed layoffs of CWA members at ZeniMax.” The ZeniMax union wants to negotiate “alternatives to layoffs.”