Amazon has laid off about 180 workers from its gaming division.
The cuts affected the entire Game Growth team and all the staff involved in Crown, a Twitch channel supported by Amazon. A leaked email reportedly said the company was shifting resources to focus on growth areas like free games for Prime members every month.
Amazon Games VP Christoph Hartmann wrote in an internal email seen by Reuters: “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.” He also said that the company needed to concentrate its resources more on the areas that have the highest potential to drive its business forward, after its initial restructuring in April. The company reportedly started informing employees on Monday morning that they were let go.
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Amazon’s Crown channel on Twitch, which The Verge reports is closing down after Amazon fired its staff, featured original shows and content. It aimed to create a traditional TV-like experience, with ad-supported programs like Screen Invaders, which showcased “mobile games transformed into arcade and IRL experiences like you’ve never seen them before.” The channel had big sponsors like Intel and Progressive.
However, a report from Bloomberg earlier this year claimed that Amazon inflated the Crown channel’s metrics with “junk views,” or people who were not actively watching or serving any purpose for advertisers. The channel’s low follower counts and chat participants supported Bloomberg’s report that its popularity may have been lower than expected.
The 180 jobs cut today are part of a larger restructuring that allegedly cut its streaming and podcast divisions last week. The online retailer previously laid-off workers from its gaming unit in April, affecting more than 100 workers from its gaming division. The company has reportedly cut 27,000 jobs since last fall — as part of a wider trend of Big Tech companies cutting costs and displacing workers in 2023.