Update November 21, 10:15 AM: Activision Blizzard has given the following statement to MCV/Develop, stating that they are centralizing some operations:
We’ve been exploring how we might best integrate our capabilities across the business and be efficient as we evolve to meet growth opportunities and stay competitive in Asia Pacific. To that end, we have begun conversations with employees regarding a plan to centralize some roles across the region in our Sydney office. Decisions of this nature are never easy and supporting our employees through this process is our number one priority
They also told MCV that the number of employees facing layoffs is closer to 30, and they reported that it will not be customer support or localization teams. No office closures have been announced at this time.
Activision Blizzard is expected to lay off around 100 more employees. These layoffs will happen across the company's non-development workforce and will affect marketing, PR, and publishing, but aren't expected to affect developers.
Why are these Activision Blizzard layoffs happening?
This news comes to us via UK trade magazine MCV/Develop. The magazine reports that the layoffs will affect marketing, PR, publishing, customer care, and localization. According to a source speaking directly to the magazine, Activision Blizzard is making these layoffs in an effort to "[transition] its non-development workforce to a full outsourcing setup". The source went on to say that Activision Blizzard as a company "doesn't believe" in community management and fandoms, and would rather pay celebrities to promote their products than to "hire a bunch of good people".
MCV/Develop's source says that Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick has been outsourcing the company's non-development work for a while now, and this latest news of layoffs fits with Kotick's strategy to expand that outsourcing. Earlier this year, Kotick and Activision Blizzard said they planned to hire more than 2,000 new development-related employees, so these layoffs would make sense in that context. Kotick seems to be making room for paying new staff by expunging staff members he doesn't believe are critical to his company's operations.
What is the background for these layoffs?
Earlier this year, Kotick and Activision Blizzard closed offices in Versailles, as well as quietly closing an office in The Hague in the Netherlands. This followed a controversial decision last year for Activision Blizzard to axe around 8% of its workforce, with Kotick at the same time saying 2018 had been "the best year" in Activision's history. These new layoffs are somewhat smaller-scale than those were, but it's still disheartening to see jobs being lost.
It remains to be seen what kind of impact these layoffs will have on Activision Blizzard's business strategy. It's important to remember that the layoffs haven't officially been confirmed, either. However, they would certainly fit what seems to be a pattern of Activision closing certain offices, consolidating its resources, and looking to expand elsewhere. We'll bring you more on this as we get it.
What do you think of these impending layoffs? Let us know in the comments below!