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Game-Time report/On January 25, Microsoft’s gaming department announced that it would lay off 1,900 people on a large scale. It is reported that the layoffs are mainly concentrated at Activision Blizzard, and some Xbox and ZeniMax employees will also be affected.

Not only are ordinary employees being laid off, Blizzard president Mike Ybarra and design director Allen Adham will also leave. On the same day, Blizzard President Mike Ybarra announced his resignation on the social platform X and expressed his gratitude to the affected employees and promised to fully support them.

According to foreign media reports, Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer wrote in an internal memo that the layoffs are part of a larger “execution plan” that will reduce “overlapping areas.” For example, Blizzard’s previously announced AAA survival masterpiece “Odyssey” was cancelled.

Blizzard spokesman Andrew Reynolds said in a statement that development on the game has ended and the company will “transfer some of the team to several exciting new projects in the early stages of development” with the aim of “focusing on part of the most promising projects for future growth”.

This layoff is obviously to solve the duplication of functions after the acquisition of Activision Blizzard, and the proportion of the overall number of employees is not high. Phil Spencer mentioned in an internal memo that there are approximately 22,000 employees in the Microsoft game department, and the number of layoffs accounts for only 8% of the total number of employees in the Microsoft game department.

Despite this, the sudden large-scale layoffs still left practitioners “without the slightest defense.” Former “Overwatch” designer and Bilibili UP owner “Short Legs Stand Steady” is one of the people who have faced this industry impact.

In November last year, UP owner “Short Legs Stand Steady” released the video “How I Joined Activision Blizzard as a Game Planner” on Station B, and began to share related content one after another. On December 27, she further released the video “Winter is coming in the gaming industry, how should we face layoffs” to appease peers who are anxious about layoffs.

It had only been a month since Microsoft’s big hand fell, and “I was laid off by Blizzard” became the title of her latest video.

In the new video, the former “Overwatch” designer said with red eyes and a slight cry that he “was also affected by layoffs”, but joining the “Overwatch” team has fulfilled his dream. After that, he will also start looking for a job. He joked: “I may start a new series about finding gaming jobs in the United States.”

The layoffs even affected Blizzard China. Relevant people responded: “This team and personnel adjustment involves the company’s global level, and some colleagues in Blizzard China are also affected. On the other hand, the country is looking for local partners and restoring Blizzard games. Service operations remain one of the focuses of our current work.”

One year after the service was discontinued, Game-Time found that the national server of “Hearthstone” has recently received new signs of its return.

Recently, Blizzard released the official rules instructions for the 2024 Hearthstone Masters. Although only Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan are still eligible to participate, a “strange” clause has been added to the qualifications for participating regions——“Blizzard reserves the right to add additional eligible countries to any of the above lists at any time in its sole discretion.”

In other words, as long as the national server returns, you can still rejoin the Masters. The reason why this clause was added to the rule book is more like a hint that the national server of “Hearthstone” is likely to be restarted in 2024. Of course, the national server agent has not yet been officially announced, and Game-Time will continue to follow up.

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