It’s estimated that 9,000 games industry jobs have been lost this year

Approximately 9,000 games industry employees have been laid off so far this year.

The estimate comes from game developer Farhan Noor, who has been tracking industry job cuts dating back to the start of 2023 on videogameslayoffs.com.

As of December 10, the five companies that had laid off the most employees to date this year were Unity (1,165), ByteDance (1,000), Embracer Group (964), Epic (830) and Amazon (715).

Other companies to made job cuts in 2023 include Xbox Game Studios, Sony Interactive Entertainment, CD Projekt, Ubisoft, Riot Games, Blizzard, Crystal Dynamics, Electronic Arts, Take-Two, BioWare, Striking Distance, Team17, Frontier Developments, Telltale Games, Digital Extremes and Digital Bros.

80 developers at Free Radical Design are believed to have lost their jobs on Monday after the TimeSplitters studio closed down, making it the latest casualty of Embracer’s ongoing restructuring.

“In gaming, the significance of ‘efficiency’ has risen dramatically over the last 18 months,” industry consultant Serkan Toto told GamesIndustry.biz recently. “There is a much higher sense of urgency now to save costs and run slimmer organisations. The pressure is on for game industry CEOs to pull out the hammer and handle the biggest cost block of them all, namely staff. And this is what we have seen in 2023.

“All this happens under a sense of ‘If we don’t do it, our competitors will and then eliminate us on efficiency,’ and people get fired left and right at the moment. There is also the phenomenon that often CEOs think 15% to 20% of their people are redundant anyway at any point in time.”

“Every sector undergoes cycles of expansion and retraction, and what we’re seeing looks to be a post-Covid realignment,” Liz Prince, head of recruitment specialist Amiqus, also told GI.biz.

“As we know, during the pandemic there was a huge surge in games and this sudden boom led to studios scaling up swiftly, making acquisitions, and perhaps some over-investment in certain areas. Now some studios need to readjust. But it’s worth noting that while certain studios are facing challenges, there are many others that are expanding.”