Square Enix is laying off employees in the US and Europe

Final Fantasy XIII heroine Lightning facing the viewer wearing a set of black armor
(Image credit: Square Enix)

Square Enix is set to become the latest game company to put employees out of work, as the company has confirmed it will soon be imposing layoffs at its US and EU offices.

Hints of trouble first came to light in Square Enix's new "medium term business plan" revealed earlier today, in which it laid out a strategy to "aggressively pursue" multiplatform game development, as well as "initiative designed to win over PC users, which represent a growth market."

That all sounds well and good, but the bad news was buried deeper in the document, under the header "rebuild overseas business divisions from the ground up," which says Square Enix has begun "optimizing costs at its European and American offices via structural reforms."

If there's one thing we've learned over the past year-and-a-half of games industry carnage, it's that "optimization" and "restructuring" are code words for eliminating jobs, and that is indeed the case here as well. While the new strategy document makes no explicit reference to layoffs, a VGC report said attendees of an internal meeting held earlier today were told that cuts at Square Enix's US and EU locations will be made within the next month. The number of employees being terminated was not specified but the report says layoffs are expected to land in June and will primarily impact Square Enix's publishing, IT, and the indie-styled Square Enix Collective divisions. 

Square Enix later confirmed the coming cuts in a statement sent to PC Gamer, saying that "after several months of analysis and discussion among our leadership team, we have made the difficult decision to restructure our Western organization."

"This restructuring will unfortunately include a reduction in the overall number [of] roles across America and Europe," a company representative said. "We are grateful to the talented Square Enix team members who will be leaving us and will support them during this transition."

2023-24 has been absolutely brutal for the videogame industry, which has seen deep layoffs and outright closures at studios of all sizes—more than 16,000 layoffs over the course of a single year, with no sign of a slowdown as 2024 progresses. Just last week, only a few months after laying off more than 1,900 employees across its gaming division—which itself happened just a few months after it spend $68.7 billion to acquire Activision-Blizzard—Microsoft shuttered four studios including Arkane Austin and Tango Gameworks, and hinted that further cuts are coming.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.