Amazon has cut around 180 jobs from its gaming division. Sources from Reuters, Aftermath and Bloomberg reported on the cuts, which affected the entire Game Growth team and all staff working on Crown, an Amazon-backed Twitch channel. A leaked email reportedly cited a company pivot to refocus resources on growth areas like free monthly games for Prime subscribers.
“After our initial restructuring in April, it became clear that we needed to focus our resources even more on the areas that are growing with the highest potential to drive our business forward,” Amazon Games VP Christoph Hartmann wrote in the internal email viewed 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.” The company reportedly began telling employees on Monday morning that their jobs had been cut.
Amazon’s Crown channel on Twitch, which The Verge reports is shutting down after Amazon let go of its staff, included original shows and content. It aimed for the feel of traditional television, offering ad-supported programming, including Screen Invaders, which featured “mobile games transformed into arcade and IRL experiences like you’ve never seen them before.” The channel had big-name sponsors like Intel and Progressive.
However, a report from Bloomberg earlier this year suggested Amazon inflated the Crown channel’s metrics with “junk views,” or people who aren’t actively watching or serving any purpose for advertisers. The channel’s relatively paltry follow counts and chat participants aligned with Bloomberg’s reporting that its popularity may have been lower than expected.
The reported 180 jobs cut today are part of a broader restructuring that also saw alleged cuts to its streaming and podcast divisions last week. The online retailer last laid off employees from its gaming unit in April, impacting more than 100 workers from its gaming division. The company has reportedly cut 27,000 jobs since last fall — part of a broader trend of Big Tech companies tightening their belts and displacing workers in 2023.