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‘The largest esports company in the world’ is laying off 15% of its workforce

Esports company ESL Faceit Group announced today that it is laying off roughly 15% of its global workforce in order to support its “sustainable growth ambitions and profitability.”

ESL Faceit Group was formed in 2022 after Savvy Gaming Group, a holding company owned by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, purchased esports event organizer ESL and tournament platform Faceit for a reported $1.5 billion, and then merged them into a single unit. The goal, ESL Faceit Group said in the merger announcement, was to “create the ultimate platform for competitive gaming,” enabling publishers and developers “to build sustainable competitive gaming communities and esports ecosystems.”

In 2023, Savvy Gaming added technology and infrastructure company Vindex and its Esports Engine division to the ESL Faceit Group, making it “the largest esports company in the world.” But just like so many other gaming companies over the past year, it now seems that ESL Faceit Group overplayed its hand.

“To ensure ESL Faceit Group continues to evolve in a fast-paced market, we are planning to reduce the size of our team by roughly fifteen-percent,” co-CEOs Craig Levine and Nic Maisto said in an announcement shared today. “This change is designed to support EFG’s sustainable growth ambitions and profitability.”

Levine and Maisto said the cuts will help ESL Faceit Group “gain efficiencies” across its global workforce.

“With the industry in constant change, we must adapt, become more efficient, and be more flexible as a team,” they wrote. “These moves, along with efforts to reorient the team on EFG’s core mission and vision, will sharpen our focus and better equip us to navigate the dynamic esports and gaming landscape by removing complexity and better integration across all teams.”

A separate FAQ says cuts will be made across “all levels and departments … with a focus on efficient staffing for our core products.” The layoffs will not have an impact on the recently-announced deal with Blizzard for the Overwatch Champions League, nor with its partnership with Electronic Arts for the NHL 24 World Championship.

The actual number of people being put out of work was not revealed: ESL Faceit Group said it is unable to share that information “due to the local labor laws in some markets.” The ESL Faceit Group’s careers page indicates the company currently has 900+ employees, which would put the figure at around 135.

The ESL Faceit Group layoffs come the same day as major cuts at Sony, which announced today that 900 people are being let go, and one day after Supermassive said that it will lay off roughly 90 employees. Other companies putting people out of work this year include Blackbird Interactive, Twitch, Riot, Behaviour Interactive, and Microsoft: 2023 was a brutal year for layoffs in the videogame industry, and 2024 is thus far on track to be even worse.

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