Xbox's Physical Games Departments Reportedly Affected By Microsoft Layoffs

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Following the reveal of 1,900 job losses across various Xbox teams earlier today, more news continues to trickle in about exactly which teams have been affected, and some of them are apparently focused around physical games.

According to Windows Central's Jez Corden, Microsoft has "shut down departments" related to bringing physical Xbox games to market. He advises that Xbox isn't necessarily quitting retail, but things are clearly changing internally:

"Microsoft has also shut down departments dedicated to bringing Xbox games to physical retail ... which if you've seen the digital-only Xbox console leaks ... well, you can get an idea of where Microsoft is going here."

"Note: reducing retail teams doesn't confirm Microsoft is quitting physical retail for Xbox games yet, they can outsource, and might be consolidating here. So, don't run with "Xbox is quitting physical" based on this. But, it does seem to be the industry trajectory. Writing is on the wall."

As referenced here, a large-scale leak in 2023 revealed that Microsoft is (or was) seemingly preparing to launch an all-digital Xbox Series X model, leading to speculation about the company exiting the physical market eventually.

Corden also mentioned today that Microsoft is basically laying off the entire customer support teams for Activision Blizzard King games aside from a select few of them, with plans to outsource the rest to external companies abroad instead. He noted that a large number of Community Managers have been affected by the layoffs as well.



 
Not a coincidence. MS have long wanted to ditch physical media. They are not the only ones.
 
Yeah it shouldn’t be any surprise at all.

But I do suspect they won’t cut the cord just yet, likely trimming back on marketing and other teams directly interacting at retail and keeping actual production in place for some time still.

I’ve been all digital for two generations already it makes absolutely no difference to me and should make the entire thing better and cheaper for everyone when they eventually get over it.

It would also mean more resources going to better hardware next gen as there is no R&D waste on physical media storage and we can hopefully get much larger onboard storage too.

If consoles survive and it doesn’t all end up in the cloud of course. Or consoles survive but it all streams in directly meaning little local storage required is another option but not very economical.
 
Yeah it shouldn’t be any surprise at all.

But I do suspect they won’t cut the cord just yet, likely trimming back on marketing and other teams directly interacting at retail and keeping actual production in place for some time still.

I’ve been all digital for two generations already it makes absolutely no difference to me and should make the entire thing better and cheaper for everyone when they eventually get over it.

It would also mean more resources going to better hardware next gen as there is no R&D waste on physical media storage and we can hopefully get much larger onboard storage too.

If consoles survive and it doesn’t all end up in the cloud of course. Or consoles survive but it all streams in directly meaning little local storage required is another option but not very economical.
Same, I have 1 physical XB1 game which is Forza Horizon 2 which I got with the XB1 when I bought it. Everything else on XB1 and current gen is digital.

As for cloud gaming, it will be interesting to see what happens. I have a feeling the next console generation of 27/28 may be the last as we know it.
 
@KenMasters

How are you finding the physical movie media the last couple of years? What's your guess on when they may stop releasing movies and series to physical media for the home consumer?
 
@KenMasters

How are you finding the physical movie media the last couple of years? What's your guess on when they may stop releasing movies and series to physical media for the home consumer?

The Blu-ray market's in a really healthy place and I don't see it dying out anytime soon. What has happened though is it's shifted from being driven by major labels to more boutique outfits, Arrow, Criterion, 88 Films, Kino Lorber, Eureka, Second Sight etc.

They've been licensing films from the larger studios and releasing them in much more fan friendly form than the big studios ever did. They pay better attention to the transfers, include interesting extras and usually also offer premium editions, if you're into that sort of thing.

The selection of movies released is also a lot more interesting, since what gets published is enthusiast driven, so you get the newer films plus all manner of catalogue titles. New Blu-ray players are also coming to market, but not cheap.

So yes, the hobby's in a good place, and it seems like more people are getting interested in physical media again with some of the funniness surrounding streaming and the precarious nature of digital ownership.
 
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I have not owned a game disc in many years, wuth Game Pass it is senseless to have discs.

Once a new digital Series X with more storage gets released I will hand my Series X down to my daughter and buy the new one.
 
I have not owned a game disc in many years, wuth Game Pass it is senseless to have discs.

Once a new digital Series X with more storage gets released I will hand my Series X down to my daughter and buy the new one.

Why would you buy a new one? Is there anything new that it will offer?
 
Xbox's move towards a more digital-focused future is coming under increased scrutiny these days - especially when more reports on the matter keep cropping up. Last month we heard that US retailer Walmart may have planned to pull Starfield discs from store shelves, and now a new industry comment has hinted at a similar situation in Europe.

Speaking on a recent episode of the GamesIndustry.biz Microcast (thanks, VGC), host Christopher Dring made some interesting comments about what he'd heard from a major game publisher in Europe.

I was told by a major publisher, just before Christmas, that across Europe several retailers have started just not listing Xbox games anymore. So, they've just stopped stocking Xbox games. Xbox is such a digital console now that physical performance of Xbox games is really low.

I couldn't find which retailers these are but it was a proper senior European publishing boss that said it to me.


 
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