This past weekend, reports began circulating that massive layoffs were inbound at Activison Blizzard. Earlier today, those reports were confirmed as the company began the process of laying off 8% of its staff. Though it’s a small percent, the percentage equates to nearly 800 people that will be losing their jobs at the publisher.
According to a press release that accompanied the publisher’s most recent earnings report, these layoffs come after the massive publisher achieved a record year with $7.50 billion in net revenue in 2018. The publisher’s CEO Bobby Kotick stated, “While our financial results for 2018 were the best in our history, we didn’t realize our full potential. To help us reach our full potential, we have made a number of important leadership changes.”
In a note to employees from Blizzard president J. Allen Brack that was seen by Kotaku, Brack told employees that, “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.” However, these layoffs will not impact game development areas of the company. The note also promised that those impacted by the layoffs will receive “a comprehensive severance package” among other benefits.
In the aforementioned press release, for the upcoming year, the publisher “will increase development investment in its biggest franchises.” The development teams on franchises such as Call of Duty, Overwatch, Hearthstone, CandyCrush, Warcraft, and Diablo are set to increase “approximately 20% over the course of 2019.” However, this growth will be due to the publisher “de-prioritizing initiatives that are not meeting expectations and reducing certain non-development and administrative-related costs across the business.”
On top of these layoffs, Activision Blizzard has been dealing with a lot lately. Last month, the company fired its former CFO. Along with this, the publisher split with Bungie and lost Destiny in the process after the game’s sales weren’t up to expectations. Following this, the company went on to be investigated for fraud, and was faced with class action lawsuits from investors.