This year was arguably the best of all time for video games; it was undoubtedly one of the worst for the people who make them. Throughout the year, studios were shut down, thousands laid off, and developers were given, disrespectfully, 30 seconds to shine on The Game Awards 2023 stage after winning awards. More than 10,000 developers were laid off in 2023, and depressingly, it felt like we wrote a story about studio layoffs once a week. 

In January, Microsoft laid off 10,000 employees amidst its ongoing $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard, which it completed in October. 

Striking Distance Studios, the team behind last year’s The Callisto Protocol, laid off more than 30 employees in August. That same month, Mass Effect and Dragon Age developer BioWare laid off 50 employees, including long-time studio veterans. The following month, in September, Immortals of Aveum developer Ascendant Studios laid off roughly 45% of its staff, and Fortnite developer Epic Games laid off 830 employees

In October, The Last of Us developer Naughty Dog laid off at least 25 employees, and Telltale Games also underwent layoffs, although an actual number of affected employees has not yet been revealed. Dreams developer Media Molecule laid off 20 employees in late October.

In November, Amazon Games laid off 180 staff members, Ubisoft laid off more than 100 employees, Bungie laid off roughly 100 developers, and 505 Games’ parent company, Digital Bros, laid off 30% of its staff. 

Just this month, Embracer Group closed its reformed TimeSplitters studio, Free Radical Design, and earlier in the year, Embracer closed Saints Row developer Volition Games, a studio with more than 30 years of development history. A few weeks before the holidays, Dungeons & Dragons and Magic: The Gathering owner Hasbro laid off 1,100 employees. 

The games industry will surely feel the effects of such a horrific year for years to come. The hearts of the Game Informer staff are with everyone who’s been affected by layoffs or closures this year.

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