The news came in over the weekend that Activision Blizzard was looking to layoff over 100 people. The “over” part of that rumor couldn’t be any truer. As of today’s earning’s call, the company announced that they will be laying off 8% of their 9,600 person workforce which is, roughly, around 800 people. The layoffs are affecting all three properties under the corporate umbrella, those being Activision, Blizzard, and King.
Alongside the layoffs, the earnings call reported that the company had once again achieved record results in 2018. While they did reach record results, those results fell short of expectations for 2018 which caused them to lower their sales forecast for 2019. To help offset the lower forecast, they are downsizing and restructuring their company. The layoffs are occurring in non-game development departments. In fact, they plan to bolster their game development staff, naming two franchises specifically in Call of Duty and Diablo.
Those who are being let go are being offered a severance package including continued health benefits, career coaching, and job placement. There are also profit-sharing bonuses attached in there as well. Most of the departments affected seem to be in the publishing departments on both Activision and Blizzard’s sides.
The new leading strategy for the company was to cut costs and produce more games. J. Allen Brack, president of Blizzard, offered this to say about this strategy:
It’s critical that we prioritize product development and grow the capacity of the teams doing this work to best serve our player community. We also need to evolve operationally to provide the best support for new and existing products.”
Activision CEO Bobby Kotick also provided a statement in his press release to investors:
“While our financial results for 2018 were the best in our history, we didn’t realize our full potential. To help us reach our full potential, we have made a number of important leadership changes. These changes should enable us to achieve the many opportunities our industry affords us, especially with our powerful owned franchises, our strong commercial capabilities, our direct digital connections to hundreds of millions of players, and our extraordinarily talented employees.”
Many have accused Activision of trying to destroy Blizzard Entertainment by placing more of its management within the company’s ranks as well as valuing profit over quality games. The recent complaints with World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth as well as the Diablo Immortal announcement seem to echo the gaming community’s fears. With Michael Morhaime stepping down and announcing that he is leaving the company entirely in April, it paints a picture that suggests that the Blizzard Entertainment that people once knew and loved is on its way out for a company that’s more in tune with generating the biggest profits rather than putting out the highest quality game possible, a staple of Blizzard’s history.