Fortnite developer Epic Games is laying off over 800 employees

best free games: several Fortnite avatars flying towards the sky
(Image credit: Epic Games)

It’s been revealed that the Fortnite developer Epic Games is laying off 16% of its workforce. Around 830 employees will be affected. 

The announcement was made in an email from founder and CEO Tim Sweeney to staff today, shared publicly on the Epic Games website, in which he stated that the company has “concluded that layoffs are the only way”.

“For a while now, we've been spending way more money than we earn, investing in the next evolution of Epic and growing Fortnite as a metaverse-inspired ecosystem for creators,” Sweeney wrote. “I had long been optimistic that we could power through this transition without layoffs, but, in retrospect, I see that this was unrealistic.

“While Fortnite is starting to grow again, the growth is driven primarily by creator content with significant revenue sharing, and this is a lower margin business than we had when Fortnite Battle Royale took off and began funding our expansion,” he continued. “Success with the creator ecosystem is a great achievement, but it means a major structural change to our economics.”

Sweeney explained that the company has been making an effort to reduce costs, with cuts on marketing and events and the move to “net zero hiring”, but this wasn’t enough to help the company become financially stable. He wrote: “We concluded that layoffs are the only way, and that doing them now and on this scale will stabilize our finances.”

According to the email, two-thirds of the layoffs have been made “in teams outside of core development”. Sweeney clarified that while some of the company’s initiatives and products will remain on schedule, some may be pushed back as a result of them now being under-resourced.

“Saying goodbye to people who have helped build Epic is a terrible experience for all,” Sweeny continued. “The consolation is that we're adequately funded to support laid-off employees: we’re offering a severance package that includes six months base pay and in the US/Canada/Brazil six months of Epic-paid healthcare." 

“We’re offering to accelerate people’s stock option vesting schedule through the end of 2024 and are giving two additional years from today to exercise the options. In the US we’re also offering to vest any unearned profit sharing from their 401k. And we’ll provide benefits including career transition services and visa support where we can.”

Epic Games is arguably best known as the developer and publisher of Fortnite, which is widely considered to be one of the best battle royale games and best free games available to play now. 

Catherine Lewis
News Writer, TechRadar Gaming

Catherine is a News Writer for TechRadar Gaming. Armed with a journalism degree from The University of Sheffield, she was sucked into the games media industry after spending far too much time on her university newspaper writing about Pokémon and cool indie games, and realising that was a very cool job, actually. She previously spent 19 months working at GAMINGbible as a full-time journalist. She loves all things Nintendo, and will never stop talking about Xenoblade Chronicles.