A few days ago, we got word that Activision Blizzard would be laying off “hundreds” of employees on Tuesday. The ax has officially dropped, and 8% of the company’s employees are being laid off. According to Kotaku’s reporting, Activision Blizzard had about 9,600 employees in 2018, so about 800 people will be looking for new jobs. The layoffs affect all of Activision’s organizations, including Activision, Blizzard, King, and High Moon.
What we know so far
The information comes from an earnings call by Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick. He reports that the company “once again achieved record results in 2018.” Additionally, thanks to this success, they are going to increase dividends to stockholders by 9%. Even with this success, the company failed to reach their expectations for that year. Now they’re restructuring the company and setting lowered expectations for 2019. Kotick stated that the layoffs would primarily focus on non-game-development departments while they bolster development staff. In particular, Blizzard only lost employees in non-game-development departments, like eSports and publishing. Both of those departments were expected to take major hits.
In a letter to the staff, Blizzard president J. Allen Brack said to his employees:
Over the last few years, many of our non-development teams expanded to support various needs. Currently staffing levels on some teams are out of proportion with our current release slate. This means we need to scale down some areas of our organization. I’m sorry to share that we will be parting ways with some of our colleagues in the U.S. today. In our regional offices, we anticipate similar evaluations, subject to local requirements.
The letter also promised employees “a comprehensive severance package,” continued health benefits, career coaching, and profit-sharing bonuses for the previous year. Blizzard employees receive bi-annual bonuses based on the company’s financial performance.
Hints about Activision Blizzard’s instability began late last year. Kotaku published an article about cost-cutting measures being taken by Blizzard and concerns over Activision’s influence over Blizzard.
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