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Ex Blizzard boss urges fans to stop taking “shots” at Phil Spencer

Xbox is shutting down four Bethesda studios, prompting a tweet from former Blizzard boss Mike Ybarra discussing Phil Spencer's decisions.

Redfall update: a vampire with dry blood on his chin smiles menacingly, his eyes a pure black color

2024 continues to be a tough year for game developers. This year has already seen as many layoffs as 2023 and we’re not even halfway through. It was reported yesterday, Tuesday May 7, 2024, that Xbox had closed four Bethesda studios: Akrane Austin, Tango Gameworks, Alpha Dog Games, and Roundhouse Studios. Ex-Blizzard boss Mike Ybarra has reminded people that these decisions hurt Xbox head Phil Spencer “as much as anyone else.” Developers have responded.

“I see a lot of shots at Phil over today’s Xbox announcements,” Ybarra writes, going on to clarify that, while he’s “not trying to defend the decisions,” Spencer is “a good human and he cares deeply for the creative process and developers.” In the note to staff informing them of the studio closures, Xbox Game Studios head Matt Booty got the names of Alpha Dog Games and Roundhouse Studios (which worked on Redfall) wrong.

Sony Santa Monica writer Alannah Pearce responds to Ybarra’s tweet with, “CEOs can handle some ‘shots’ amidst people having their lives destroyed. Your sympathetic posts should solely be directed at those who’ve lost their jobs.”

a tweet from mike ybarra on a halo background. the tweet reads: "I see a lot of shots at Phil over today's Xbox announcements. I get it. But knowing him as a human, I know this hurts him as much as anyone else. I can't speak for all of the leadership there, but I do know him and I do know what he is likely going through. I'm not trying to defend the decisions. I think we all get ourselves into situations that are tough and unexpected (certainly I have). It's part of the job, as is the accountability for the outcomes. But he's a good human and he cares deeply for the creative process and developers. That's my first hand experience in working closely with him for 8+ years and knowing him for 24+. I 100% understand the anger and confusion, and I feel deeply sorry for those teams impacted today and over the last few months. I didn't agree with every decision he made at Xbox, and I think that was pretty clear, but I do believe in his product leadership and I know how hard these decisions can be. Xbox could have a very bright future. I hope they are able to realizes it and all of the teams have an incredible experience together. It's certainly a tough time that needs great clarity into what the plan ahead is and how gamers everywhere can be excited for it."

Dillon Rogers, a developer at New Blood Interactive, quote tweets Ybarra, writing “Hi. Can you at least let us grieve for a single day for our colleagues losing their careers and livelihoods before ‘won’t someone please think of my millionaire buddies’ posting.”

Senior Performance Specialist at Warframe developer Digital Extremes, Dmitri Linkiewicz, writes “You wanted to add tipping to games,” referencing Ybarra’s recent comments that he believes you should be able to tip game studios if you really enjoy their games. “How have you not been bullied off this app?”

Mitch Dyer, the lead writer at That’s No Moon, also quotes the post, writing “Easily the worst and most embarrassing take about games industry destruction I’ve seen in my lifetime.”

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