The tech giant's gaming division is downsizing, laying off a significant workforce including the Crown Channel and Game Growth division, despite parent company's massive corporate earnings.

Amazon Games Announces 180 Job Cuts After Recent Profit Spike

As the turbulence in the gaming industry job market continues through 2023, new reports have revealed that Amazon Games, the gaming division of the multinational tech corporation Amazon, is set to lay off a staggering 180 employees. This reduction includes the full team of the popular Twitch service Crown Channel and the subsidiary Game Growth division.

According to sources within Amazon, the primary aim of this abrupt downsizing is to deliver better services to Prime Gaming, the company's gaming service for Amazon Prime subscribers. The news was first brought to light by the recently formed editorial website Aftermath, comprising a group of experienced journalists including former RPS staff writer Nathan Grayson. Following Aftermath's expose, Amazon confirmed the reports and also shared an internal email concerning the layoffs sent to the staff by Amazon Games VP, Cristoph Hartmann.

Hartmann's email underscored the company's focus on enhancing their Prime services, driven by customer demand for free games every month. According to him, this renewed focus necessitated changes to their resourcing, resulting in the dismissal of 180 roles within the company.

Founded in 2020, Crown Channel was a gaming hub seamlessly blending celebrity and pop culture with gamified elements. It allowed viewers to actively participate in the content by influencing the trajectory of shows through Twitch chat, polls and on-screen minigames. But differing data from Bloomberg suggested an exaggeration in the reported audience numbers for Crown Channel by Amazon. The Game Growth unit was more experimental, dedicated to reinventing how game creators publicize their products globally.

Hartmann’s email sympathetically addressed the impact of the layoffs on employees and stated that the decision was made after thorough consideration of the company's future roadmap. Despite expressing pride in the team's work in exploring new areas and assisting publishers in reaching wider audiences, Hartmann stressed the need to staunchly focus the company's resources in delivering superior games for the present and the future.

Additionally, Hartmann reiterated Amazon's aspiration to present itself as one of the premier developers and publishers of high-quality games. Pointedly, he reiterated the overall good health of Amazon’s ongoing in-house game development projects, including a new Tomb Raider title and a revamped attempt at a Lord of the Rings MMO. He further mentioned that Prime Gaming would persistently deal, source, and deliver engaging content for members every month, implying active recruitment and roles filling in the internal studios for developing new intellectual properties (IP).

The news of these layoffs follows the massive job cuts across Amazon and Twitch (owned by Amazon) earlier this year. In a meeting in March, Twitch CEO Dan Clancy explained how the business had undergone economic impacts, stating that user and revenue growth had not fulfilled their expectations. This surprisingly seemed to suggest that the company had inadequately prepared for the aftermath of the pandemic's stay-at-home measures, which had earlier boosted the gaming industry across 2021-2022.

Significantly, amidst the job cuts, Amazon's overall health seems surprisingly robust, having recently declared remarkable profits, with revenues soaring by 13 percent to $143.1 billion for the three months leading up to 30th September. This apparent contradiction between Amazon's surging earnings and its dismissal of 180 gaming division employees reveals a curious and somewhat contentious discrepancy within the gaming giant's operations and priorities. As the tech conglomerate continues to evolve and adjust its strategies, these moves and their impacts will certainly be worth observing for customers and stakeholders alike.

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Aaron Chisea

Hey there, I'm Aaron Chisea! When I'm not pouring my heart into writing, you can catch me smashing baseballs at the batting cages or diving deep into the realms of World of Warcraft. From hitting home runs to questing in Azeroth, life's all about striking the perfect balance between the real and virtual worlds for me. Join me on this adventure, both on and off the page!

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