Microsoft lays off almost all esports production staff after CDL Major

Declan Mclaughlin
Call of Duty League crowd

Microsoft laid off thousands of Activision Blizzard employees and many thought that would be it, however, the company decided to gut its esports broadcast team just one day following a CDL Major.

Microsoft laid off almost 2,000 employees to start the year thanks to its merger with Activision Blizzard. The gaming industry as a whole has been rocked by layoffs across 2023 and 2024 with companies like Riot Games also letting go of a large percentage of their workforce.

Many thought the bleeding from Microsoft was over, however, it seems like the company was just waiting for the right time to lay off a large portion of its staff in the esports department.

Multiple observers, behind-the-scenes workers and even on-air personalities from the Overwatch and Call of Duty League announced on January 30 that they had been let go from the company. The news comes just a few days following the CDL Major 1 in Boston.

Microsoft cuts esports department

The news of the layoffs also comes just a day after Johanna Faries the previous commissioner of the CDL, and eventual General Manager of Call of Duty, was promoted to President of Blizzard.

“They did it, they actually did it. They let us work with that over our heads and laid us off on our first day off. The lack of common decency is a joke,” Scott Parkin, the former senior manager of esports operations at Activision Blizzard said announcing his layoff from the company.

Multiple observers, some who just got back from working the CDL Major, also announced that they had been impacted by the esports department layoffs.

“This morning a bunch of my friends and peers I’ve worked with who were full-time with Blizz and brought you the OWL + CDL broadcasts for the last few years were laid off. My entire team is gone. I’m beyond heartbroken,” Jessica DiPaola, the manager of the OWL observers, said on social media.

The company also released some of its more popular on-air talent from the Overwatch League like Matt Morello and Soe Gschwind.

“It was a dream come true to work there & I’m saddened that my time was cut short,” Soe said.

The layoffs are not all that surprising on the Overwatch side as the Blizzard-ran league dissolved in 2023. However, a new circuit has popped up in its place and is expected to run throughout 2024.

The CDL, on the other hand, has seemingly thrived so far and hasn’t had to deal with much drama like teams leaving the league, or the competition collapsing.

These cuts are also another tally on a long list of layoffs to hit not only gaming but esports as well.

About The Author

Based in Indiana, Declan McLaughlin is an esports reporter for Dexerto Esports covering Valorant, LoL and anything else that pops up. Previously an editor and reporter at Upcomer, Declan is often found reading investigative stories or trying to do investigations himself. He has a bachelor's degree in journalism from Indiana University. You can contact him at