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Amid massive layoffs in the gaming industry, John Romero said: “I’ve never seen anything like what’s happening now.”

After EA laid off 670 people, becoming the latest publisher to join a long list of thousands of game developers who have lost their jobs over the past year – or rather, the last two months – FPS legend John Romero believes the gaming industry is in an unprecedented downturn.



I’ve been in the gaming industry since I was a kid and I’ve never seen anything like what’s happening now. For many of us, being a game developer is not just about a job, but about identity, community, and culture. I am very sorry to everyone who lost their jobs.


In replies to other users, one of whom wondered whether this wave of layoffs would lead to an industry collapse like in the 1980s, Romero admitted:



In 1983 the industry was very small. In fact, it is wrong to compare.


When asked if he would have been able to fire someone from id Software during the Doom era, Romero replied:


Each of us did the work of at least two people. We should have hired new people rather.


The bright side of this situation, according to Romero, is that “programming is a great cross-functional skill and is applicable to many industries, including gaming.


There have been too many layoffs in the gaming industry recently to list them all, but some of the biggest ones include:


  • Microsoft cut almost 2,000 people in its Xbox, Activision Blizzard and Zenimax divisions (Bethesda)


  • Riot laid off more than 500 employees and closed its indie games division


  • Sony laid off 900 people, including many from Naughty Dog and Insomniac, and closed PlayStation London entirely


  • Unity laid off 1,800 people, roughly 25% of its workforce


  • Embracer laid off 1,400 people


And these are just the biggest ones. Meanwhile, Star Citizen also has layoffs, the studio Deck Nine is laying off 20% of its employees, and the esports company ESL Faceit Group has laid off 15%. 


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