Phil Spencer tells Xbox employees layoffs were ‘painful’

Microsoft’s head of gaming, Phil Spencer, has addressed this week’s round of job cuts at the company, telling staff they were “painful choices”.

On Wednesday, Microsoft confirmed plans to lay off approximately 4.5% of the US technology giant’s 220,000-person workforce (around 10,000 people).

Eventually, this was confirmed to have affected the company’s gaming divisions, in particular Halo developer 343 Industries, Bethesda Game Studios and marketing.

On Friday Phil Spencer sent out a company-wide email, obtained and published by Kotaku, in which he told employees the cuts would set it up for long-term success.

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“This has been a difficult week across Microsoft, and here, inside our teams,” he wrote. “Now that many of the 1:1 and team conversations have happened, I want to take a moment to reiterate the message that you heard from your leaders.

“This is a challenging moment in our business, and this week’s actions were painful choices. The Gaming Leadership Team had to make decisions that we felt set us up for the long-term success of our products and business, but the individual results of those decisions are real. I know that hurts. Thank you for supporting our colleagues as they process these changes.”

The e-mail continued: “Over the coming weeks we will have many opportunities to connect and answer your questions, including the Monthly Gaming Update next week for teams who attend that meeting, and I am in close contact with teams at ZeniMax to provide support.

“The GLT and I are committed to being as transparent as we can. Moving forward with ambiguity is challenging, but I am confident that together, we will get through this difficult moment in time.

“Xbox has a long history of success thanks to the work you do in service of players, creators, and each other. Your work is so deeply appreciated and valued in these times of change and is integral to our business momentum.

“I am confident in our future and proud to be part of this team, but also conscious that this is a challenging time and I want to thank you for everything you do here.”

On Wednesday Microsoft claimed the cuts were being made “in response to macroeconomic conditions and changing customer priorities”.

According to a Business Insider report published the same day, the company was deliberately targeting who it believed to be “underperforming employees” in at least some parts of the company.