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Amazon Lays Off 180 Employees In Its Games Division

Video game workers just can't catch a break

1:22 PM EST on November 13, 2023

Video game layoff season – an extension of what has basically at this point become video game layoff year – is in full swing, and now Amazon is getting in on it.

Two sources with knowledge of the layoffs told Aftermath that Amazon is eliminating 180 positions in its games division. This includes the entirety of Crown Channel, an Amazon-backed Twitch channel, and the Game Growth team, with a larger goal of refocusing efforts around Prime Gaming, a portion of the company's Amazon Prime subscription that offers free games and in-game content.

Amazon confirmed the news and provided a copy of the internal email received by employees.

“We’ve listened to our customers and we know delivering free games every month is what they want most, so we are refining our Prime benefit to increase our focus there. With these changes in our business approach come changes to our resourcing, resulting in the elimination of just over 180 roles,” wrote Christoph Hartmann, VP of Amazon Games, in the email to employees. 

Crown Channel is notable as an instance of attempted synergy between Amazon and Twitch, the livestreaming platform the company has owned since 2014. While it managed to put together elaborate events featuring countless streaming stars and the occasional mainstream celebrity, it never quite found its footing. Earlier this year, a Bloomberg report claimed that the channel's viewership had been artificially inflated.

This is Amazon's second round of cuts to its games division this year, with the first -- which eliminated around 100 jobs -- coming in April.

“I know this is difficult news and that the impact will be felt widely,” Hartmann wrote. “It never feels good to say goodbye to colleagues. This isn’t a decision the leadership team came to quickly; it was the result of extensive considerations and road mapping for our future. We are proud of the work the teams have been doing, pushing into new areas with weekly content on Crown Channel, and finding more ways to help publishers reach new audiences with Game Growth. But after further evaluation of our businesses, it became clear that we need focus our resources and efforts to deliver great games to players now and in the future.”

Amazon boasted nearly record-high profit margins in Q3 of 2023, according to CNBC. Workers paid the price; Amazon has eliminated 27,000 jobs since last fall.

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