Just one day after Amazon Games and 505 Games parent company Digital Bros announced significant cuts at their companies, Humble Games has confirmed that it too has laid off employees, telling Video Games on Sports Illustrated that the layoffs were required "to ensure our long-term success."
Humble Games is the publishing arm of Humble Bundle, which began in 2010 as a low-priced collection of indie games raising funds for charity. It was initially presented as a one-off but the success of the program spawned further bundles and eventually a digital storefront. Humble Games launched in 2017 as "a multi-million-dollar investment for games large and small," offering "a wide range of publisher services with trusted teams to cover ports, marketing, localization, and everything a developer would need to release in today’s global games market."
The cuts at Humble Games first came to light yesterday when former lead release manager Estelle Skeels said on LinkedIn that she had been laid off from her position. "It's a sad day at Humble Games for a lot of folks," she wrote. In an update, she noted that her comment did not necessarily reflect the scale of the layoffs, but rather their impact on all Humble employees.
"I realize some digital news outlets have read into my 'a lot of folks at Humble' quite literally and linking to my profile trying to do some napkin math," Skeels wrote. "But you see when you have one ounce of empathy, you realize the impact of layoffs is on the people who are laid off, of course, but ALSO on the people who are not laid off. And that is indeed a lot of people..."
The exact number of employees put out of work hasn't been revealed, but Humble did confirm with Game Developer that multiple people were let go. "Yesterday was a difficult day for Humble Games and we can confirm that we had to say goodbye to valued colleagues," Humble said. "Like many companies this year, we have experienced trends that required this restructure in order to ensure our long-term success.
"It's especially worth noting that everyone impacted by these changes are talented, dedicated individuals who made a huge impact. Humble Games remains focused and committed to working with amazing indie developers to bring their experiences to players around the world in the years ahead."
In other words, it's the same old story: These people were talented and valued and made important contributions to the company, but their continued employment threatens the bottom line and so out the door they go. The videogame industry has never been a particularly stable place to work but 2023 has been an absolute bloodbath. Companies ranging from tech giants like Microsoft, Google, and Amazon to major game publishers and even small independent studios have all either let people go or closed their doors outright in their pursuit of increased profits and shareholder value.
And we know there will be more coming: Engine maker Unity said earlier this week that further layoffs (Unity put 600 people out of work just six months ago) are "likely" as it moves toward becoming a "leaner, more agile, and faster growing company," and it's also likely that there are still more cuts to come out of the beleaguered Embracer Group, which laid off employees at Star Trek Online developer Cryptic Studios earlier this month as part of its ongoing effort to recover from the collapse of a $2 billion investment deal in May.