Gaming Layoffs Continue with GameStop, Inven
The gaming consumer market is narrower than predicted and the layoffs keep coming.
Two very different companies in the gaming space made layoffs over the past 24 hours, sparking conversations about the stability and future of the industry.
On Thursday, long-time game retailer GameStop fired its CFO and made significant layoffs ahead of a stock split set to go into effect later this month. The retailer didn’t disclose the number of workers affected, but CEO Matt Furlong said it would “right-size headcount” after expanding its corporate workforce by more than 600 people in 2021.
Then on Friday, Inven Global—one of esports’ longest-standing editorial websites—announced cuts across its editorial department, leaving seven esports journalists without jobs in an uncertain employment environment.
It’s the latest in a string of layoff and cutback news, not just in gaming, but across many industries. Last week, both “Pokémon Go” developer Niantic and game engine dev Unity let go of several hundred employees. It seems each time I open LinkedIn, there’s yet another person stating a job offer they accepted was rescinded, sometimes on their start day.
Intrinsically, be it GameStop, Inven or others, its becoming clear that while gaming is a growing industry, the market share available in each category for consumer behavior is narrow.
For GameStop, that’s retail, over which it lost its grasp to Amazon and then, as storage devices grew bigger and Internet connections became faster, to the system manufacturers’ first-party stores.
For Inven, that’s gaming content—an industry that’s driven by placement in Google’s algorithm and sees dozens of sites trying their best to get preferred placement on the search engine through copious research into keywords and phrases used to create low-hanging-fruit content that drives millions of views. Tom Matthiesen, one of the laid-off writers at Inven, said it best:
“Most esports fans probably do not care much for sites such as Inven Global closing its doors,” Matthiesen said in a tweet this morning. “As long as there is some site offering the patch notes, play highlights, and spicy quotes from their favorite pro player, the fans get the candy they’re craving.” In other words, even with Inven gone, there will be numerous sites filling that exact void.
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