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If companies had their way, losing staff through "tough times" would be preferable to them leaving for another studio.

Justin Carter, Contributing Editor

March 25, 2024

2 Min Read
A corporate business meeting in Cyberpunk 2077.
Image via CD Projekt Red.

At a Glance

  • The last two years have potentially put image-conscious companies at ease, since everyone's cutting staff.

2023 and 2024 have seen significant layoffs across the game industry. Studios of all sizes have been affected, and 18,000 layoffs are estimated to have hit since 2023.

According to Omdia analyst Liam Deane, the layoffs are such where companies aren't as bothered by them anymore. In fact, he speculated studios are less image-conscious about them now than in previous years.

"Companies become less worried about the risk of losing talent to the competition," he said in a chat with Game Developer. "Making cuts two years ago would have made you look bad to investors; now it's just part of an industry-wide trend."

A survey from Game Developer Collective revealed 44 percent of participants experienced layoffs at their company in 2023. Before 2024 is over, it'll easily surpass the 10,000 cuts seen last year.

The situation has been so fraught that developers like Dwarf Fortress' Tarn Adams and Strange Scaffold's Xalavier Nelson Jr. have openly critiqued the executives behind these layoffs in recent days.

Omdia is hopeful the layoffs will recede as the games market grows throughout the year. But while they're optimistic things will look "more positive" closer to the end of 2024, the industry doesn't have eight months to hope things will work out.

Combined with companies recognizing (and then bypassing) worker-led unions and toxic player behavior, developers are going through a lot. Last September, developers answering an IATSE survey they admitted they don't know if the industry has a future, or at least a future with them in it.

Getting laid off and having to apply at studio after studio is draining on those affected, to say nothing of how those losses hit remaining staff. Not to mention, the cost of living at major development hubs like Seattle and LA keep steadily rising.

Poaching may be the least of the industry's problems as the year continues and more studios face layoffs or outright closure.

Omdia and Game Developer are sibling organizations under Informa Tech.

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About the Author(s)

Justin Carter

Contributing Editor, GameDeveloper.com

A Kansas City, MO native, Justin Carter has written for numerous sites including IGN, Polygon, and SyFy Wire. In addition to Game Developer, his writing can be found at io9 over on Gizmodo. Don't ask him about how much gum he's had, because the answer will be more than he's willing to admit.

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