Developers at Palia studio Singularity Six were still celebrating a successful early access launch when a surprising announcement was made: The company was laying off around 10% of its workers. Though the game is a cozy life simulator, layoffs were something that was “not so cozy,” as a Singularity Six leader had said in a previous meeting, according to two workers.
Singularity Six is just one of the dozens of game companies that laid off workers in 2023, and its workers are among the thousands of people who lost their jobs this year. Only days after ringing in the new year, layoff announcements started rolling in: Wizards of the Coast canceled multiple projects and laid off a dozen people; game engine maker Unity Technologies cut 300 people; Microsoft laid off a staggering 10,000 people, which impacted both Starfield’s Bethesda Game Studios and Halo Infinite’s 343 Industries. The bad news just kept coming as the year progressed, as studios both big and small axed jobs — Digital Extremes, Epic Games, Telltale Games, BioWare, Bungie, CD Projekt Red, Ascendant Studios, Electronic Arts, Embracer Group and Volition, Amazon’s games division, and too many more.
Though there isn’t clear data on how 2023’s disastrous layoffs compare to other years, game developers Polygon spoke to agree: This has been one of the worst years for workers in a long, long time. (Polygon interviewed more than a dozen game developers for this story.) Unofficial trackers suggest more than 7,000 video game workers have been laid off in 2023; for comparison, another community-driven list suggested there were roughly 1,000 in 2022. The nearby tech industry has seen a 716% increase in layoffs announced year over year, too, according to research firmRead more on polygon.com