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Layoffs arrive for some at Mixer, Inside Xbox

Is Microsoft paring back some of its online content teams? It sure looks that way.

GamesIndustry.biz is reporting that a number of employees at Mixer and Microsoft — namely those who've been involved in the production of Inside Xbox — have been laid off, with some of those layoffs actually taking place before the start of E3. The layoffs include those at third-party production company Mighty Media Studios, as well as some who worked directly for Microsoft until recently.

And rather surprisingly, the layoffs hit two fairly prominent members of the Inside Xbox squad who've been featured on the stream since it was brought back. Product marketing manager Rukari Austin, who regularly shared the camera with Major Nelson on Inside Xbox, is one of those employees affected. Another is producer Kate Yeager, who also helped co-host Inside Xbox and often interviewed developers about their upcoming titles.

The layoffs, according to GamesIndustry.biz, could be a cost-cutting measure ahead of Microsoft's fiscal year close, which is set to take place on June 30. It could also be a sign, however, that Microsoft plans to be a little more quiet in the year ahead, as the company teeters between the end of this current console generation and the start of the next with Project Scarlett, which is scheduled to launch in Holiday 2020.

And we don't want to read too far into things, but there is a question of how effective the Inside Xbox format has been compared to Nintendo's Directs and Sony's State of Play streams. Inside Xbox is a highly produced live show that otherwise aims to accomplish the same things as those other two broadcasts, making players aware of new games and offering a venue to announce new Xbox features. Microsoft could be planning to make Inside Xbox more of a scaled down affair, and that would explain why figures like Austin and Yeager were let go, as Microsoft already makes use of employees like Major Nelson and Jeff Rubenstein to deliver much of the platform's news.

Time will tell. We don't know when the next Inside Xbox stream is coming just yet, but as soon as we're aware — and we're able to get a look at how it plays out — we'll keep you abreast of anything that's changed.