Sponsored By

Phil Spencer deems Xbox layoffs 'very hard,' but needed for 'sustainable business'

The layoffs and closures at Bethesda hung over Xbox's summer showcase, and Spencer says the company will carry on.

Justin Carter, Contributing Editor

June 10, 2024

2 Min Read
Phil Spencer at a recent livestream for multiplatform Xbox games.
Image via Microsoft.

Following yesterday's Xbox showcase, Phil Spencer touched on the layoffs that occurred in May across Bethesda subsidiaries such as Tango Gameworks and Arkane Austin.

Talking to IGN's Ryan McCaffrey, the Microsoft Gaming head acknowledged those reductions and closures as "very hard" on those affected. At the same time, he stressed that he must "run a sustainable business inside the company and grow," and made a tough call.

"Sometimes I have to make hard decisions that frankly are not decisions I love," he explained, "but decisions that somebody needs to go make."

Spencer went on to explain that he's kept silent on the matter out of respect for those now laid off staff. While ensuring the "right thing" is being done with those employees (such as severance), he didn't want to make it "about my PR, [or] Xbox PR. It's about those teams."

Layoffs can only be so "tough but necessary"

His remarks aren't dissimilar from similar ones Sony made at the end of May. Speaking to PlayStation's layoffs from February, Sony's Hideaki Nishino said those 900-person reductions had to be done if Sony had any chance of proper reinvestment into the future.

That impacted talent contributed in Sony's fortunes "in a good way," said Nishino at the time, but "future growth" meant they had to go.

At Xbox's showcase, Spencer, president Sarah Bond, and content & studios head Matt Booty each expressed pride in the subsidiaries under Microsoft's umbrella. But those sentiments are undermined by the cuts Xbox made just over a month ago.

With those layoffs still in the air, they create unease over some of the titles shown off at the event, such as the troubled Perfect Dark or MachineGames' Indiana Jones & the Great Circle.

During the IGN chat, Spencer affirmed Xbox would move on from the layoffs, saying the company would "keep moving forward after its layoffs "build the best business we can. [It'll] ensure we can continue to do shows like the one we just did."

Read more about:

Layoffs[Company] Xbox

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.

Daily news, dev blogs, and stories from Game Developer straight to your inbox

You May Also Like