Esports and gaming media network GAMURS Group has laid off a wave of staff and freelance workers, with losses focused on its editorial departments, according to several former employees and a swath of social media posts.
The exact number of freelance and full-time employees that have been cut is not clear, but at least 50 journalists and writers have publicly announced being laid off, per a compiled list reviewed by Esports Insider.
The list, compiled by GinxTV Editor Rabia Sayal, includes those publicly stating they are looking for work, but the true number of laid off employees is likely to be higher.
GAMURS Group owns a portfolio of 15 esports and gaming news outlets, including Dot Esports, Upcomer, Pro Game Guides, Destructoid, The Escapist and more.
In an email sent to laid off freelancers yesterday, part of which has been shared with Esports Insider, GAMURS said their contracts were being eliminated due to the recent collapse of Silicon Valley Bank — as well as to address ‘operational inefficiencies’.
“Due to several factors related to the recent collapse of Silicon Valley Bank, which was one of GAMURS’ banking institutions, and the need for GAMURS to significantly improve its operational inefficiencies, we have made the decision to end your freelance assignment with GAMURS Group, effective immediately,” the email read.
Several former workers have said there was no prior indication or warning that layoffs would be happening, until the email arrived.
George Geddes, a high-profile VALORANT reporter for Dot Esports who was laid off, also stated on Twitter that he was told his and other job cuts were a result of the Silicon Valley Bank crisis.
In a livestream on his Twitch channel following the layoff, Geddes said he was told GAMURS needed to implement cost-cutting measures to protect itself as a result of the Silicon Valley bank collapse. Geddes said his position was being eliminated, and claimed Dot Esports’ investigative unit would likely be closed.
In a separate internal company email reportedly sent to staff, according to Kotaku Senior Reporter Ethan Gach, GAMURS CEO Riad Chikhani claimed the layoffs were a result of inefficiencies and the relative underperformance of certain content.
In the email — which has not been independently confirmed by Esports Insider — Chikhani reportedly said that a hiring spree since 2022 was unsustainable in light of underperforming content that wasn’t delivering the desired profitability.
“Whilst the decision we made to invest heavily into our team was one that was made with the greatest intentions to grow our audience and content output, we unfortunately moved too broadly and without the right protective measures in place,” Gach’s excerpt of the email reportedly reads.
The news comes despite several recent LinkedIn posts by GAMURS and its CEO claiming the company’s properties were seeing continued growth after a record-breaking 2022. Just six days ago, the CEO claimed that its Destructoid property had seen 100% growth in the last six months alone.
Last month, GAMURS posted that it ranked fourth in Comscore’s media ranking for gaming information websites. GAMURS’ media properties brought in 66m monthly readers in December 2022, according to the company’s website.
Laid off staff will reportedly receive three weeks severance pay, though this does not apply to freelancers.
Esports Insider reached out to GAMURS Group but it did not immediately respond to a request for comment.