Screenshot from the Destiny 2 event, Solstice of Heroes

Opinion: Gaming Layoffs are Causing Long-Term Harm

Layoffs cause trauma. Workers lose their source of income and their routine. These stories have run rampant in 2023, like Bungie did this week and Epic Games did last month. These gaming layoffs will only hurt us all long term.

Bungie Showed That Loyalty and Quality Mean Nothing

If you haven’t figured out yet, this article sprung up specifically because of Bungie’s layoffs. The day before Halloween, they laid off numerous workers, including numerous communities facing people. Liana Ruppert and Griffin Bennett, community manager and social media respectively, were let go.

Michael Salvatori, Destiny’s main composer, is also gone. As best exemplified on the Destiny 2 subreddit, the community is stunned and has dashed hopes for next year’s The Final Shape (now delayed to June).

Ruppert proudly displays her two decades experience in public facing roles for video games. Bennett called Bungie his “home team” studio. Salvatori stayed with Bungie since Halo: Combat Evolved. Like all laid off, these three particularly brought identity to Bungie.

As a “reward”, their employee benefits end today because it’s the end of the month and won’t roll over into the next month.

If these three are victims, then that clearly speaks to what Bungie values. Those values are not quality, experience, or loyalty. Even in the grander scheme of things, as reported by Jason Schreier at Bloomberg.

Epic Games Showed that CEO’s Can Fail as Much as They Want

Epic Games has to be the biggest layoff so far. They laid off 830 workers in late September, divested Bandcamp, and spun off most of SuperAwesome. In the message, CEO Tim Sweeney wrote as such:

For a while now, we’ve been spending way more money than we earn, investing in the next evolution of Epic and growing Fortnite as a metaverse-inspired ecosystem for creators. I had long been optimistic that we could power through this transition without layoffs, but in retrospect I see that this was unrealistic.

These were his decisions. He wanted to go this path and he didn’t lose his job. Heck, he’s still worth billions of dollars. A billion dollars is such an astronomical value that having four could cover those lost jobs with extra left over.

So Many Developers Should Not Lose Jobs When Games Have Been So Good

Anyone reading this with no other information about the gaming industry would be deep in the red with failing games. That’s the exact opposite. As a matter of fact, this has been the best reviewed year for video games in at least 20 years.

The below thread gets into the base math regarding layoffs, total profits, etc. Regardless of whatever the actual profit turns out to be, over 6,000 jobs gone is a massive amount.

This should have been a year for celebration. So many projects’ developers put a lot of time and effort into excellent games. Instead, we continually grieve for every gaming layoffs.

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