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AI shakeout: Tech giants hit hard by 2024 layoffs!

Tech giants hit hard by layoffs

If the current trend of layoffs in the expansive technology sector persists, the year 2024 could be remembered as one of the bleakest periods for the industry. Notably, even industry giants like Microsoft are not immune, as they recently announced a workforce reduction of approximately 8% within their gaming division.

The primary catalyst for this wave of layoffs is attributed to the increasing prevalence of artificial intelligence (AI), which is progressively replacing human roles across various positions within the industry. The looming question remains: will the sector continue downsizing, or is this phase merely a part of its ongoing evolution?

The momentum of layoffs within the technology industry continues to intensify, with even the most prominent Silicon Valley entities making difficult decisions. Microsoft, for instance, recently unveiled an unpopular decision to lay off 1,900 employees from Activision Blizzard and Xbox this week. This reduction affects roughly 8% of the entire Microsoft Gaming workforce, which totals around 22,000 employees.

The integration of Activision, Blizzard, and King into Microsoft occurred just over three months ago. According to the company, leadership in both Microsoft Gaming and Activision Blizzard felt compelled to recalibrate departmental strategies to ensure a more balanced cost structure. As a consequence of this strategic realignment, job cuts were deemed necessary.

Expressing gratitude and pledging support, Microsoft issued a message to the affected employees: "We are grateful for all the creativity, passion, and dedication you brought to our games, our players, and our colleagues. We will provide full support to those affected by the changes during this transition period, including severance benefits in accordance with local labor laws."

The alarming pace and scale of layoffs in the technology industry are causing widespread concern. Preliminary estimates suggest that, following another week dominated by workforce reductions, the number of layoffs in the technology industry in 2024 is poised to exceed the pace set in the same period the previous year. According to data from, the average number of layoffs in January 2024 has already surpassed the monthly averages observed over the past two years.

This week alone, layoffs more than doubled, impacting nearly 24,000 individuals. On Tuesday (January 23), over 10,000 employees in the technology industry worldwide lost their jobs, followed by an additional 1,900 cuts on Thursday (January 25), attributed to Microsoft's gaming department.

Observers of the labor market posit that the wave of layoffs in the industry is, in part, a correction following the pandemic period, during which many individuals were hired for remote work opportunities. However, the primary impetus for these layoffs is perceived as the industry's shift toward artificial intelligence. AI is stepping into roles that do not necessitate human interaction, and it is also being deployed where its efficiency surpasses that of human counterparts.

The current state of affairs in the broad technology industry is instigating apprehension and uncertainty among workers. Even highly lucrative and promising sectors, such as game production, are not immune to workforce reductions. Layoffs have affected employees in leading studios like Amazon Games, Ubisoft, Epic Games, and Niantic. The IT industry and programmers, who recently wielded considerable influence over employers, may now face an uncertain future.

Yet, amid the challenges, some individuals see positive aspects in the expansion of AI. Artificial intelligence displaces jobs, it will also contribute to the creation of new, previously unknown professions. Akin to past breakthrough technologies, artificial intelligence generates novel roles and necessitates new skill sets for existing positions.

Examples of these emerging professions include auditors managing extensive datasets, AI trainers, AI ethics experts responsible for fairness and integrity issues, and advisors analyzing the social impacts of AI. These roles represent just a few instances of the new opportunities arising from the widespread adoption and development of artificial intelligence.


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