It looks like Microsoft might be moving away from producing lots of original content for their social channels, as several Mixer and Inside Xbox staff have lost their jobs in the wake of E3.
The above is just one of many examples picked up on Twitter by GameDaily.Biz, and the tweets and replies show a significant shift in internal direction for both Inside Xbox (whose layoffs appear to have quietly started back in May) and Mixer.
The leading theory is that Microsoft are moving away from producing their own content for public distribution, and honestly that makes quite a lot of sense. At least since the launch of Apex Legends, if not before, it's become pretty clear that utilising established streamers to promote your products, news and services is a very viable option; one in which you don't need to pay for presenting and producing staff, equipment or studio space.
Whatever the true reason behind the shift, it's a difficult moment for these content creators who have been let go from Microsoft's teams, particularly as corporate streaming and video content with high production values is seemingly on the wane. PlayStation skipped E3 entirely this year, and have switched to the Nintendo Direct model of producing what essentially amounts to a bunch of ads with a nominal amount of voice-over. There's a good chance that Bethesda, EA and Square Enix may make a similar move for E3 2020 and beyond given the lacklustre reception for their expensive live productions this year. In this climate, it may well be tough for these creators to find work at a similar level. Too many YouTubers and Twitch streamers are simply willing to give themselves away for free, or for a nominal sponsorship sum, or a one-off payment, to make permanently hiring a salaried content producer an appealing prospect for the industry's audience-hungry corporations. Even if a company wants to have a professional presence around for E3, it's easy enough to find a gun-for-hire already in attendance. Veteran industry presenter Julia Hardy, sprung up to present for both EA PLAY and Inside Xbox's E3 special; it's not too wild an idea to think that behind-the-camera producers could also be drafted in for temporary assignments.
Microsoft have yet to make an official statement on what is seemingly a significant round of lay-offs — we'll keep you updated if we learn more.
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