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Activision-Blizzard Employees Brace For Massive Layoffs



Photo: Activision

Employee of the gaming publisher Activision-Blizzard is preparing for major layoffs next week, waiting to see who will be one of potentially hundreds of employees who could lose their jobs on Tuesday.

There has not been any official news from the publisher yet, but we first heard words about upcoming layoffs late last year. At that time, Activision and Blizzard employees told me they expected the ax to fall in February, and I began to hear more and more rumors earlier this week, whispering it suggests that the layoffs would occur before the publisher's quarterly earnings, which are on Tuesday February 12. Employees at all of Activision's offices have been kept in the dark while waiting to see what will happen. Some say they are pretty sure they are safe; Others say they fear they will no longer have jobs next week.

Last night, Bloomberg reported that the layoffs should take place on Tuesday and number for hundreds. When you contacted earlier this week of Kotaku about the upcoming layoffs, an Activision spokesman did not respond to comment requests. A Blizzard spokesman refused to comment (twice).

This news comes after a disturbing year for the publisher, consisting of two entities, Activision and Blizzard. Both Activision and Blizzard operate autonomously, but are managed by the same C suite of executives, including CEO Bobby Kotick (whose salary in 2017 was around $ 28.6 million).

At Blizzard, 2018 was a year full of cost savings, under chief operator Armin Zerza, who is mandated to reduce spending and produce more games. (In addition to extensions and remasteries, Blizzard has not released a new game since Overwatch in May 2016.) Employees across Blizzard have been told to cut their budgets and spend less money and there is general concern for Activision's crawling influence as the company seems to make more economically driven decisions. In October, Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime stepped down to be replaced by Blizzard veteran J. Allen Brack, not as CEO, but especially as president. In December, Blizzard was abruptly killed Hell of the Storm esports program and cut down the development team for that game, the least success.

People who work or have worked at Blizzard told me they expect Tuesday's layoffs to be primarily in non-game development departments, such as publishing, marketing, and sales. Some of these jobs and roles can then fall to Activision properly, further reducing Blizzard's autonomy.

Meanwhile, Activision has also worn. Last year, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 was successful, one of 2018's best-selling games according to NPD data, but the publisher lost one of his major franchises after Destiny 2 s ] Forsaken expansion failed to meet Activision's high expectations. In January, Bungie announced that there were ways of activation and early termination of his development contract and bowed to a long-distance relationship. Bungie would hang on Destiny franchise as a result.

The business angle is that Activision now lacks one of its largest tent poles, but the human angle is that the split leaves people at risk of losing their jobs. Activision employed a whole team full of Destiny support staff-PR, marketing, social media, business and so on-who now have no work. Two people near the company told me that there have been some opportunities for the former Destiny employees to move to other teams, but those opportunities are limited, and members of that department may be most concerned about their job security .

The redundancies are likely to happen Monday and Tuesday. For now, those who may be affected cannot do anything but wait.


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