It seems the rumors were true, as Activision Blizzard is, in fact, parting ways with many of its staff across Activision, Blizzard, and King. According to today’s Activision Blizzard earning’s call, 8% of the company’s workforce will be impacted. Activision Blizzard employed over 9600 people in 2018, which means that almost 800 people are now out of work. It appears that the layoffs will largely impact non-game development staff such as esports and publishing.
Blizzard President, J. Allen Brack had this to say in a note to staff:
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. There’s no way to make this transition easy for impacted employees, but we are doing what we can to support our colleagues.
The layoffs will include “a comprehensive severance package,” which will assist those without jobs and hopefully make the transition as easy as possible, but there are no guarantees.
Activision CEO Bobby Kotick released a memo to investors today, after beginning the earnings call by saying “We once again achieved record results in 2018.”
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. These changes should enable us to achieve the many opportunities our industry affords us, especially with our powerful owned franchises, our strong commercial capabilities, our direct digital connections to hundreds of millions of players, and our extraordinarily talented employees.
Jason Schreier of Kotaku had sources tell him that the company was bracing for the layoffs today, hugging and crying in the parking lot.
As they brace for today's layoffs, Blizzard employees are crying and hugging in the parking lot, according to a person there. Still no official word from the company, but people in publishing and esports are expecting big cuts. Earnings is at 5pm ET – news should be around then.
— Jason Schreier (@jasonschreier) February 12, 2019
Sadly, many Activision Blizzard employees had no idea what would happen to them and were forced to wait until today to find out if they still had a job. As the company makes the transition to become more profitable, they have been planning for different ways to cut costs, such as the recent layoffs and encouraging their EU customer support team to resign with a cash incentive.
With all of the executive staff shifts and the loss of potentially hundreds of employees, the company is indeed going through some changes.
Activision Blizzard’s earnings call is happening today and we will update you as more information becomes available.