Game news

Massive layoffs at Activision Blizzard despite 'record year'

It’s been an interesting quarter for Activision Blizzard. One PR disaster followed another, stock prices plummeted and right before the Q4 2018 earnings call which was held yesterday, reports about possible massive layoffs in Activision Blizzard started spreading like a plague. Reports were true – massive layoffs are really happening, however, during the Q4 2018 earnings call, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick, tried to paint the picture in brighter colors.

Bobby Kotick started his call by saying that Activision Blizzard once again achieved record results in 2018. According to the earnings report, the company made 7,26 billion dollars in physical and digital sales, compared to 7,16 billion dollars in 2017. However, even the record-breaking fiscal year numbers didn’t meet the company’s expectations, mostly from Blizzard’s side of the company.

Following these results, Activision Blizzard has decided to scale down in order to optimize its staff. The company is planning to cut 8 percent of its staff, which accumulates to around 800 people losing their jobs. The CEO also told that the layoffs will only affect those who were working in ‘non-development roles’ and confirmed that Activision Blizzard will continue to scale up development-focused positions.

A day before the Q4 2018 earnings report, Blizzard president J. Allen Brack also released a statement explaining the situation why the decision to scale down was made. The statement reads:

Blizzard Community…

Over the past few months, I’ve met with many people throughout Blizzard, talking about how we create our future. One thing that remains constant: we are committed to creating epic games and entertainment experiences.

Our development pipeline is strong, and we have the largest lineup of games that we’ve ever had. At the same time, Blizzard tries to have a level of craftsmanship and excellence in all that we do. Maintaining those standards as we continue expanding these worlds takes both time and talented developers.

With that in mind, we have plans to add to game development. We are dedicated to bringing you more content across existing game franchises and bringing our unannounced projects to life. Esports and the Overwatch League are also important priorities, and we will continue to produce great competitive content.

To better support these priorities, we need to reorganize some of our non-development teams. As a result, we will be reducing the number of non-development positions in North America and anticipate a related process in our regional offices over the coming months subject to local requirements. This was an extremely difficult decision, and we want to acknowledge the effort of everyone who has contributed to Blizzard. To assist with the transition, we are offering each impacted employee a severance package that includes additional pay, benefits continuation, and career and recruiting support to help them find their next opportunity. These people are members of the Blizzard family—they’ve cared deeply and contributed greatly to our work here and we are extremely grateful for all they’ve done.

As difficult as some of these organizational changes are, I am confident in Blizzard’s future and we will continue working hard to live up to not only our mission, but your expectations. We look forward to sharing everything with you when it’s ready.

J. Allen Brack