Layoff rumours have been growing over the past week and today Activision Blizzard pulled the trigger and around 8% of the workforce at Activision, Blizzard, and King are being let go. This amounts to around 800 people. It’s not great news for Blizzard staff, especially those not working directly in game development.
Despite higher earnings over the same period last year, Activision Blizzard has a lower than expected forecast for the first quarter of 2019.
“While our financial results for 2018 were the best in our history, we didn’t realize our full potential,” Kotick states in the report. “To help us reach our full potential, we have made a number of important leadership changes.”
Despite this round of layoffs, Activision Blizzard states that “The number of developers working on Call of Duty, Candy Crush, Overwatch, Warcraft, Hearthstone and Diablo in aggregate will increase approximately 20% over the course of 2019. The company will fund this greater investment by de-prioritizing initiatives that are not meeting expectations and reducing certain non-development and administrative-related costs.”
Blizzard has seen a real slowdown in game releases and this latest restructuring initiative is intended to increase output which will please some fans.
Blizzards recently canned their Heroes of the Storm eSports plans and it’s thought that some staff involved in eSports at Blizzard have lost their jobs today. J. Allen Brack, who took over from Mike Moirhaine last year added, “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.”
Im news that won’t please Blizzard fans, they have stated that “we are not planning a major frontline release for 2019.” That leaves Diablo for phones and the Warcraft Remaster as the only releases we think will appear this year.
We’re not sure what other departments have scaled back today but no doubt we’ll hear more in the coming days.