Yesterday, as the video game industry’s attention was focused squarely on the final day of the E3 convention in Los Angeles, Amazon’s video game division quietly laid off dozens of employees.
Amazon Game Studios, which is currently developing the online games Crucible and New World, told affected employees on Thursday morning local time that they would have 60 days to look for new positions within Amazon, according to one person who was laid off. At the end of that buffer period, if they fail to find employment, they will receive severance packages.
Amazon also cancelled some unannounced games, that person told Kotaku.
The company wouldn’t say exactly how many employees it laid off, but confirmed the news when reached by Kotaku today.
“Amazon Game Studios is reorganising some of our teams to allow us to prioritise development of New World, Crucible, and new unannounced projects we’re excited to reveal in the future,” an Amazon spokesperson said in a statement.
“These moves are the result of regular business planning cycles where we align resources to match evolving, long-range priorities. We’re working closely with all employees affected by these changes to assist them in finding new roles within Amazon. Amazon is deeply committed to games and continues to invest heavily in Amazon Game Studios, Twitch, Twitch Prime, AWS, our retail businesses, and other areas within Amazon.”
Amazon first began ramping up its video game division in 2014, although things haven’t gone well for Amazon Game Studios so far, with the company cancelling its first game Breakaway back in 2017.
Some of its prestige hires, such as Far Cry 2 director Clint Hocking and Portal director Kim Swift, left the company before shipping any games, and Amazon’s massive investment in the Crytek engine to create Lumberyard has not made much of a splash.