Another big esports brand is making some major changes. 100 Thieves, which already announced layoffs in January, is laying off more staff and spinning out its internal game development studio and its Juvee energy drink, 100 Thieves president and COO John Robinson said in a Thursday thread on X (formerly Twitter). The cuts impact roughly 20 percent of the company’s employees and primarily affect Juvee and the game development studio, Robinson tells The Verge. (Robinson wouldn’t confirm a specific number of employees affected.)
100 Thieves was founded in 2017 by Call of Duty star Matt “Nadeshot” Haag and quickly became known for blending gaming and apparel to become something like the Supreme of esports. (Drake and Scooter Braun are co-owners, as are streamers Rachell “Valkyrae” Hofstetter and Jack “CouRage” Dunlop.) The organization also expanded beyond those core focuses into things like hardware sales, making a video game codenamed Project X, and, last October, launching Juvee. But it appears that 100 Thieves has stretched itself too thin, resulting in the changes Robinson announced Thursday.
“During the esports franchising era, we saw tremendous growth in our esports business & our brand and were fortunate to be able to make investments beyond that core,” Robinson wrote on X. “As the economic landscape has changed over the last two years, the growth of our business did not keep pace with the growth of our organization. We cannot afford as large of an organization as before and that responsibility falls on me and Matt.”
Moving forward, 100 Thieves will focus on its esports teams, apparel, and online content, Robinson said in another post. Juvee will be spun out over the next three months, while the game development studio will be spun out immediately, Robinson tells The Verge. (The X account for Project X no longer exists on the platform; 100 Thieves announced the game in June 2022.) On X, Robinson promised that “we’ll share more updates on these businesses over the coming months.”
This marks the third layoff for 100 Thieves in less than two years. In January, 100 Thieves reportedly laid off about 30 employees. In July 2022, it cut more than a dozen jobs.
It’s been a rocky time for the esports industry. Faze Clan is set to be acquired in a deal worth a fraction of its $725 million SPAC. TSM, one of the biggest esports organizations in the world (and one that made an ill-fated deal with FTX) sold its spot in the North American League of Legends circuit to Shopify’s esports team. Blizzard is working on a “revitalized” vision for its Overwatch esports league. On Wednesday, around 20 employees at Evil Geniuses were reportedly laid off, and Sports Business Journal reports that the organization has been asking around “for possible mergers or acquisitions.”