Microsoft’s gaming layoffs include 86 jobs at Skylanders studio Toys for Bob

Call of Duty developer Sledgehammer Games will cut 76 workers.

Belinda Jiao via Getty Images

Microsoft’s post-acquisition layoffs at Activision Blizzard have already caught the FTC’s eye. Now we know more about which subsidiary studios will take the hit. First reported by the San Francisco Chronicle (via Eurogamer), California WARN notices list 86 upcoming scheduled layoffs at Skylanders maker Toys for Bob and 76 cuts at Call of Duty: Vanguard developer Sledgehammer Games.

California requires companies to notify the state of upcoming layoffs, thanks to a 1988 law mandating 60 days’ notice about staffing cuts (if they reach specific thresholds). The latest WARN alerts for Activision Blizzard report 86 upcoming cuts at an address in Novato, CA — matching Toys for Bob’s offices — effective March 30. In addition, the San Francisco Chronicle reports on a California state filing indicating Toys for Bob’s offices will close.

Toys for Bob is known for spearheading the “toys-to-life” concept, which Nintendo later embraced with its Amiibos. The Activision Blizzard subsidiary’s most successful projects include the Spyro the Dragon series, Skylanders and Crash Bandicoot 4: It’s About Time. The Gamer reported in late January that Toys for Bob would cut 40 percent of its staff, which would have only been around 35 jobs.

In addition, another 76 Activision Blizzard employees will lose their jobs (also on March 30) at an address in San Mateo, CA, matching the headquarters of Sledgehammer Games. The studio has developed or contributed to several Call of Duty games, including CoD: Modern Warfare 3 (2011), CoD: Advanced Warfare (2014), CoD: WWII (2017) and CoD: Vanguard (2021). The studio was founded in 2009. Insider Gaming reported in January that Sledgehammer Games would close its offices and go fully remote.

In late January, Microsoft said it would slash 1,900 jobs across its Xbox, Activision Blizzard and ZeniMax (Bethesda) teams. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) filed a complaint in a federal appeals court on Wednesday, arguing that the substantial round of layoffs “contradicts Microsoft’s representations in this proceeding.” The government agency asked for a temporary pause of Microsoft’s Activision Blizzard acquisition, which appeared all but locked up after the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority approved the $69 billion purchase in October.

An estimated 10,500 gaming industry workers fell victim to layoffs in 2023. We’ve already seen 6,000 more in 2024, only slightly over a month into the new year. It’s been part of a devastating year-plus of broader tech-industry layoffs.