The saddening year of gaming industry layoffs continued today as Amazon Games has confirmed it’s laying off 180 workers.
The affected departments are mainly the Amazon-Twitch channel Crown Channel and the Game Growth team, according to Aftermath. The news was first reported by Aftermath’s Nathan Grayson and then soon confirmed by Amazon.
“We’ve listened to our customers and we know delivering free games every month is what they want most, so we are refining our Prime benefit to increase our focus there,” said VP of Amazon Games Christoph Hartmann in an email to employees obtained by Aftermath. “With these changes in our business approach come changes to our resourcing, resulting in the elimination of just over 180 roles.”
It feels as though there hasn’t been a section of the gaming industry that hasn’t been affected by layoffs this year. Everything from studios to publishers to gaming journalism has been hit by staff reduction.
“I know this is difficult news and that the impact will be felt widely,” Hartmann said. “It never feels good to say goodbye to colleagues. This isn’t a decision the leadership team came to quickly; it was the result of extensive considerations and road mapping for our future.”
Crown Channel was mainly used by Amazon as a paid front-page advertisement on Twitch, in an effort to centralize users from Twitch, Prime Gaming, and Prime Video. But it apparently wasn’t worth the effort of keeping it or the people behind it around.
“We are proud of the work the teams have been doing, pushing into new areas with weekly content on Crown Channel, and finding more ways to help publishers reach new audiences with Game Growth,” Hartmann said. “But after further evaluation of our businesses, it became clear that we need focus our resources and efforts to deliver great games to players now and in the future.”
Prime Gaming, the new focal point according to Amazon Games, offers free in-game items to players who are subscribed to Amazon Prime, and thus Prime Gaming, on Twitch. It’s partnered with such games as League of Legends, VALORANT, Call of Duty, Destiny 2, and many more.
Update on Nov. 13 at 6:10pm CT: Amazon Games has released a statement to Dot Esports:
“Prime Gaming is not the new focal point of Amazon Games. The focus for Amazon Games is its game development and publishing: Amazon Games developed New World and has several other projects in active development, and also publishes externally developed games like Lost Ark, the upcoming Blue Protocol and Throne and Liberty, and also several other games on the future roadmap such as the next game in the Tomb Raider franchise and a game based in the literary Lord of the Rings universe. The cuts announced today (including to Prime Gaming) are in service of focusing on game development and publishing.”