Xbox boss addresses “painful” layoffs: “This is a challenging moment“

10,000 Microsoft employees were let go last week, with a lot coming from the company's gaming division

Xbox boss Phil Spencer has addressed the “painful” layoffs Microsoft announced last week, with 10,000 members of staff losing their jobs.

The latest round of layoffs included the gaming developers behind Halo at 343 Industries, Starfield developers at Bethesda and veterans of Xbox Studios.

In an email sent to staff, Spencer admitted (via Kotaku) that “this has been a difficult week across Microsoft.”

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“This is a challenging moment in our business, and this week’s actions were painful choices,” he continued. “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.”

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Head of Xbox Phil Spencer speaks onstage during The Game Awards 2015 at Microsoft Theater on December 3, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. CREDIT: Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images

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

Spencer finished by saying: “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.”

Announcing the layoffs, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said that they represent “less than five per cent of our total employee base.”

Looking ahead, the CEO says that Microsoft’s finances will be affected by “severance costs, changes to our hardware portfolio, and the cost of lease consolidation as we create higher density across our workspaces”.

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Following the news, 343 Industries took to Twitter to hit back at rumours it will stop being the main studio for Halo development while Microsoft has faced criticism over a decision to go ahead with a private Sting concert for top executives, the day before announcing the mass layoffs.

In other news, it seems like Martin Hollis, the director of Goldeneye 007 for the Nintendo 64, is looking to make a new first-person-shooter.

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