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[Discussion] Sledgehammer Games Shaken: Microsoft's Layoffs Lead to Major Staff Cuts and Office Closure

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Significant Layoffs Amidst Microsoft Cuts

Sledgehammer Games, a subsidiary of Activision Blizzard, has been significantly impacted by Microsoft's recent decision to lay off nearly 1,900 employees. Reports from InsiderGaming indicate that the company has lost about 30% of its workforce. This substantial reduction in staff comes as part of broader cuts affecting the Microsoft Gaming division, following the tech giant's acquisition of Activision Blizzard.

Office Closure and Transition to Remote Work

In addition to the layoffs, Sledgehammer Games is closing its main office, prompting a shift to remote work. The developer, known for its work on "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3," will operate remotely until a new office space is located. This move to work from home decided during a company town hall meeting, is expected to last at least until the end of 2024. The closure of the main office and the significant layoffs have reportedly caused discontent among some employees, contrasting sharply with Activision's previous insistence on full-time office work for QA staff.

Broader Impact on Call of Duty Studios

The layoffs at Sledgehammer Games are part of a larger trend affecting multiple studios involved in the "Call of Duty" franchise, including Treyarch, Raven Software, and High Moon Studios. The layoffs account for about 8 to 9 percent of the total workforce at Activision Blizzard, significantly altering the landscape of these key development teams. Xbox head Phil Spencer has expressed regret over the layoffs, noting the difficulty of such decisions. Despite this, concerns have been raised about the future direction of Activision Blizzard under Microsoft's ownership, particularly regarding the outsourcing of QA roles and the potential impact on game development and employee morale.

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