Earlier this month, Microsoft laid off twelve people that were part of the Xbox support team. According to two sources affected by the layoffs, the tasks of the team have been partly taken over by volunteers which were previously trained by the laid off team.
The 12 people who lost their jobs were not actual Microsoft employees. They were employed by Affirma Consulting, a company that also lists Expedia, Vizio and Pokemon as its customers. Despite that the 12 were not actual Microsoft employees, they mainly worked in Microsoft’s offices. The team managed Microsoft’s Xbox Support on Twitter, a popular account with more than 1 million followers and which replies to many user inquiries each day.
Part of the laid off team’s job was interacting with Xbox Ambassadors, volunteers who can earn prizes by helping other users. Several members of the laid off team were involved with training these Ambassadors. The voluntary Ambassador users now manage @XboxSupport on Twitter and respond to questions through an online chat tool on the Microsoft website. By doing so, Ambassadors can earn points and enter prize competitions.
Not the entire Xbox support team has been ditched, there is still a small team with the main purpose of managing the Ambassadors. The website Polygon contacted Microsoft for a comment. A spokesman of the Redmond software giant replied stating: “We continue to have a number of highly-trained customer support agents, plus community ambassadors, available to help customers with their needs.”
Additional questions about the layoffs were not answered by both Microsoft and Affirma Consulting.