Activision Blizzard expected to slash jobs after flat sales, loss of Destiny 2

    
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Storm clouds are gathering above Activision Blizzard, a portent of bad sales and dire predictions: The publisher is expected to cut “hundreds” of jobs this week in an attempt to turn the company’s fortunes around.

Activision Blizzard, which handles World of Warcraft, has been in a financial slump for a while now. The company acknowledged that formerly hot properties like Overwatch and Hearthstone were seeing flat sales, and the loss of Destiny 2 back to Bungie left a big hole in future prospects. Industry analysts predicted that the company will see a two percent drop in sales in 2019.

“Employees at both Activision and Blizzard have told me they’ve been coming into work every day with no clue what might happen,” tweeted Kotaku news editor Jason Schreier. “Horrible, horrible news.”

We’ve seen indications that Blizzard has been struggling as of late, with poorer sales last year, the ousting of its CFO, the loss of former president Mike Morhaime, and the move to scale back its work on Heroes of the Storm.

The job cuts are expected to be made next Tuesday, when the company makes its Q4 2018 report. The company’s stock has been cut in half over the past six months:

Get caught up on the road to right now:

Source: Bloomberg

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Alatar

Activision Blizzard has somewhere between 9,000 and 10,000 employees worldwide. A layoff of “as many as 200” employees is a statistical non-event. But if the sky isn’t falling, it’s not worth writing about.

If you don’t like Activision or Blizzard games, don’t play ’em. The amount of outrage constantly aimed at this company is astonishing. People behave like this company has actually harmed them.

Yep, the stock price is low. Guess what? If they continue to make money, the stock price will go back up. Buy some now at a bargain price. Last time I looked at the numbers they were the most profitable game developer/publisher in the world, and by some considerable margin.

That doesn’t mean they aren’t trying every day to make even more profits. To do anything less gets you sued by your shareholders (witness the lawsuit over Bungee being set free).

The future of PROFITS is mobile gaming. Diablo Immortal will make scads of money for them, whether one amped-up, pissed-off American buys a copy or not. And the stock will go up. And they will continue to pay their execs stupid amounts of money. And continue to lay off other employees.

Situation normal. Nothing to report here.

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Nathan Aldana

says person who apparently doesnt give the slightest shit about how awful a situation that is.

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Bannex

Says the person whos solution is:

Eat the rich!

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Nathan Aldana

Its a simple but effective solution. Their flesh will be well marbled and fatty. Prime grade a venison. (I’m being facetious here)

Also, your continued insistence that the government cant be trusted but capitalism totally can, when generally,. businessmen are the ones who then go on to fund putting in politicians who will do their bidding, is amusing in a naive sort of idealistic way.

I find thats a thing with pro-capitalism, anti-government types in general. Theyre amazingly, fatally, insanely naive and idealistic in a world where both of those things are fatal flaws.

They mistake their own good fortune for somehow being “just how life works” because then you can just blame poor people for being poor instead of bothering to help them.

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Bannex

“your continued insistence that the government cant be trusted but capitalism totally can”

Please show me where I said that.

Corruption is everywhere. It’s always black and white with you isn’t it? Who the hell is naively idealistic now?

Recognizing that the world isn’t fair doesn’t equal blaming poor people for being poor. In fact it’s absolutely the opposite. Just because I disagree with the general notion that it’s impossible to climb out of a financial hole doesn’t mean that there aren’t people out there that can’t.

You seriously haven’t offered one solution. Just continue to build up strawmen and attempt to knock them down.

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Tamanous

Blizzard is still hiring. The real sad reality behind this layoff is it’s done appease the investors who are freaking out over the possible stock manipulation and Exec abandonment.

Basically these employees are pawns to stop the stock market fall caused by millionaires trying to get more millions off a market that is crashing.

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Bannex

Since it’s a mess down there I’m going to say this. This is a goods and services company if you don’t like the product or how they do business, take your money elsewhere.

If you in fact do that, don’t be pissed when they don’t have enough money to pay their employees and have to lay some off. They can only afford to give fat cat execs golden parachutes for so long.

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Jack Kerras

Fat cat execs’ golden parachutes are at the expense of everyone who works for the company 100% of the time.

That shit is nonsense and it ought to be outlawed, among hundreds of other God-awful terrible things that are legal in business only because folks who want to wreck everything for their own gain pay to make it so.

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Bruno Brito

Fat cat execs’ golden parachutes are at the expense of everyone who works for the company 100% of the time.

Don’t forget this is still a area where people overwork themselves to death.

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Armsbend

If you outlawed it the stars would just pack up and go somewhere else in this global economy. Trust me, the big guys would have no trouble taking their skills to Bejing, Berlin or anywhere else. The reason golden parachutes exist is because they are business rockstars and it is to entice them to come to their company ov er another company. They have the acumen, the education, the knowledge to do what the grunts do not have the skills for.

It’s the same reason an NBA star gets 30 million while the neighborhood basketball giant doesn’t.

I’m not saying it is fair – but the guy at the top is desired. The guy at the bottom is replaceable in a second. That is why people, across all industries, need to unionize. They are not worth much as individuals.

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Bruno Brito

The reason golden parachutes exist is because they are business rockstars and it is to entice them to come to their company ov er another company. They have the acumen, the education, the knowledge to do what the grunts do not have the skills for.

If that was the case, nothing that’s happening in the games industry would be happening.

While they do have the education and knowledge, the “acumen” is another matter entirely. We both know they’re gamblers.

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Schmidt.Capela

Trust me, the big guys would have no trouble taking their skills to Bejing, Berlin or anywhere else.

They would have trouble getting paid for those skills as much as they are paid in the US, though. AFAIK both Europe and Asia have lower compensations for executive officers than the US. Japan, in particular, is reeling from a scandal where one of the few CEOs that got paid at rates that would be considered competitive in the US was arrested for fiscal fraud and found to have embezzled corporate funds.

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Armsbend

Which is likely a reason the US has a stranglehold on innovation. If the international community could steal that braintrust – I’d hope they would.

The US did it to Germany and Russia in the 40s and 50s. We offered more money and a much more liberal lifestyle – we basically stole some of the most brilliant minds of last century. There is no reason other countries won’t do the same in the future – as the US approaches a more European sense of everything.

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Bruno Brito

By the way, that’s already happening. Macron already issued a call for scientists from the US who feel their field is too hostile to work. France is giving them asylum to pursue enviromental research.

I’m actually seeing that becoming a trend very quickly.

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Bannex

Cool. Maybe they should look into Brazil and their treatment of the rainforest while they’re at it.

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Nathan Aldana

all the more reason Eat the Rich doesnt sound all that bad.

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Jack Kerras

The same argument can be made of basically any move which will reduce the ultra-rich and corporations’ powers to govern themselves at the expense of others, so… basically it doesn’t fucking matter.

We have to do those things. The road we’re going down now is the kind that stifles innovation rather than creating it. Precisely the thing everyone who sucks capitalism’s dick wants is competition, but precisely the thing that corporate America wants is having none because they’ve bought it all out to reduce the effort they need to spend to keep customers.

Those people are desired but they are not actually visionaries. Folks who are into business go on and on about their skills, but these folks are normal fucking people who were in the right place at the right time. Given more opportunities to display that C-level employees fuck up just as often and badly as everyone else, we’d see a pretty serious culture shift, but it’s fucking impossible for regular folks to get to that position… and, frankly, intentionally so.

None of those folks -want- to be seen as normal people that happened to be in the right place at the right time, but that’s all they fucking are.

As for unions… yeah, totally. Literally everyone needs to do this; there was a time when unions were kind of crushing business, but now we’re back to the other side of the bell curve and it’s no good for us on either narrow end.

As for individual worth, I feel like our whole constant-wage-slavery situation leaves a LOT of resource on the table (or plain destroys it), and that our ‘stranglehold on innovation’ is not going to last for much longer in the structure we’ve let rich people flog us into building.

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Bannex

A true free market and what we have in America are not the same thing.

Furthermore, I don’t think anybody disagrees with you in reference to the unholy union of the ultra wealthy corrupt businesses and government legislation.

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Nathan Aldana

the problem with that is the guy at the top also has a vested interest in hiring politicians who will destroy any power unions have.

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Nathan Aldana

well, guess we’ll just have to give them regular parachutes and listen to them whine themselves to death over the lack of filigree.

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Fishballsx206x

If they didn’t ban the millions of botters, wow subs would still be high. They just had to go ruin all the bots. Sorry I don’t have 10 hours a day to play your game to compete at the top challenges. Rip wow since last expansion ban waves! They honestly think 60% of subs weren’t cheating some how some way, yeah okay! Even if this expansion blows, allowing bots would of kept sub count plenty high enough to save the game!

fallwind
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fallwind

just because you’re too bad at the game to “complete at the top challenges”, doesn’t mean you should cheat.

Git good.

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Jack Kerras

No, like…

…there are bots competing in ‘get to the top 10% of the server’ timed achievements, and mostly crowding out actual players in so doing. That’s the point. Real players aren’t winning these things, bots are, because they don’t do silly things like shit and eat and sleep.

fallwind
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fallwind

name one.

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Jack Kerras

Oh. See, I didn’t get where you were going with this.

I was trying to explain something that you seemed to misunderstand.

You don’t misunderstand. You just want to feel better than other people.

I don’t have a dog in this race, I was just trying to clarify the point, which it originally seemed like you missed in your rush to gloat about how much cooler you are than Internet strangers. You didn’t! That was the point all along. Got it.

fallwind
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fallwind

so, none, gotcha.

The excuse of “I need to cheat to succeed, so everyone else who’s doing well must also be cheating” is exactly that, an excuse bad/lazy people use to feel better about themselves.

Now, WoW does/did have a botting problem, but it’s not in high end content… it’s people setting bots to run around and pick flowers to get gold. Server first achievements, the “get to the top 10% of the server” you mentioned, are in content that can’t be automated: raiding and PVP.

hence my snide reply of “name one”, because you can’t.

The world is full of people better than you, and the fact that you suck without cheating doesn’t mean everyone better than you is cheating as well.

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Bannex

Wow now this rationalization is beyond hilarious. It’s hard to tell if this was a joke or serious.

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Armsbend

I think its a joke. I think.

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DargorV .

If only they had a couple dozen millions on hand…

Nah better give the higher ups big fat bonuses (undeserved btw) instead of saving jobs

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Schmidt.Capela

This is why I truly hope a couple ideas related to using taxes to reduce inequality get implemented.

One is the 70% marginal tax for those that earn more than $10 million per year, with that money used to fund either tax cuts for the poor or social programs.
(For context, as late as in 1981 the US had a 70% marginal tax, only it started at a far more modest yearly income: $475K in today’s dollars.)

The other is increased corporation taxes if the highest paid executive earns more than 100 times the average worker wage in the company.

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Bannex

Step 3 watch all your large businesses go to china and the jobs go with them. (For context the china of today wasnt around in 81 so good luck with that. The closest thing was japan and they scared the american economy so much there was anti made in japan propaganda.)

Step 4 destroy the american economy and force everybody to rely solely on the government… an entity that couldn’t launch an operating website a few years ago.

Step 5 now that you’ve impoverished an entire nation watch the intelligent and motivated leave the country as well looking for better life and financial freedom

Step 6 continue to ignore the fact that people do in fact want to be rich while the government officials funnel their money overseas and hide their billions in grand Cayman.

But cool story, keep sticking to the punish the rich while stifling any drive to improve, innovate and progress the country, ideology.

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Nathan Aldana

you know, no matter how much you lick the boots of rich people they wont give you a spare mansion for your quislinghood.

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Bannex

I don’t need a spare mansion bud nor would I want one. I am perfectly happy with my life and all I have accomplished. I have no need for others wealth, standards or lifestyle and maybe that’s where we differ.

You think you’re owed something, I went and made it happen. I am sorry you’re so unhappy but believe it or not some people know when they have enough and are thankful for where they are in life.

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Bruno Brito

I went and made it happen.

Translation: “I was born with the luck to have some specific talent for something, and to have the ways to proceed in life without going through the difficulties that would set me back years.

I wasn’t born in dangerous enviroments, nor sold as a trafficked child, nor was i born in a ghetto.”

I am sorry you’re so unhappy but believe it or not some people know when they have enough and are thankful for where they are in life.

You really don’t get it, do you? That WE are not the point? Christ.

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Nathan Aldana

that type never seems to get it. They dont seem to quite understand caring more about other people than themselves.

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Bannex

Nothing I said refers to how I care about other people.

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Bannex

Are you really trying to twist my general contentment with my life as apathy towards the sex trafficked and unfortunate?

This is some bullshit.

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Nathan Aldana

I’m pretty happy with my accomplishments too. I just am not happy with how people who worked just as hard or harder than me can get fucked by the universe because life isnt fair, and then people like you pretend that everyone gets their fair share as long as they work hard, and i cant help but find that position so utterly and completely tone deaf to the plight of other human beings.

You did well, so fuck the world? yeah, pass. Until the entire world isnt suffering I won’t ever be happy.

Besides, why should I be thankful and to who? I’m not religious, or spiritual. whatever good or bad is in my life is a combination of my decisions and the decisions of everyone in the orbit of my existence.. Its nothing to do with fate, or justice, or the rewards of being a good person, its just that I am where I am because thats how life turned out. There is nothing to thank, or be thankful for, there is just a world that a lot of people are born into with far less fortune than me, and those people should have a chance same as I did.

In short, I find your view on life so immensely fucking alien.

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Bannex

Go ahead and pretend like you’re taking up the fight against… the universe?

I definitely never said life is fair.

I certainly didn’t say people don’t need help.

I truly didn’t say businesses are more trustworthy than government.

I absolutely didn’t say fuck the world.

My stances that you’re extrapolating and projecting onto some ridiculous argument about the existence of the poor and unfortunate were made to defend your completely misguided attacks on myself. They were definitely not how i feel about general inequality.

Because I have a general disbelief that it’s ok to rob the fortunate in order to help the less fortunate doesn’t make me a bad person or not caring about people that are suffering so please fuck off with those accusations.

You have no idea what I do for my community and to be honest no matter what I say here you’ll continue to pretend that I am the enemy.

Congratulations on your luck. I have no idea what point you’re trying to make here besides trying to make me sound like the fictitious enemy you’ve always wanted to argue against.

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Bannex

That’s fine that you’re not thankful. I am. I really don’t care what your stance is on that. I’ll continue to be thankful for my life regardless of your spiritual beliefs or lack thereof?

Not sure what you want me to do with this?

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Denice J. Cook

Well, it is of course horrible for the hundreds who may lose their jobs, and I hope other dev teams are scoping out these potential new hires right now.

However, that said, what the friggen what was Activision doing sticking Finance people in charge over there?

WoW has been in a steady nosedive for years, since Catclysm really, but moreso than ever with BfA. Don’t even get me started!

And whose bright idea was Diablo: Immortal?

Sorry, but they’ve sort of asked for this. And I can’t help but wonder, now that Morheim’s gone, what will become of WoW Classic.

About all Blizzard really seems to have to generate real excitement among gamers is its remakes of its older titles. That should tell them something right there.

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Bannex

Not that I disagree with you at all. Do you think it’s possible that blizzard got lucky with their older titles, a perfect storm if you will?

Also, and this is changing the topic slightly, do you think we as gamers and fans of blizzard place too much emphasis on the business decisions of higher executives as the downfall of the company and not the fact that there has been a talent exodus from that company for years prior? This could be a chicken or the egg debate but it’s interesting to consider the fact that developers that created successful products for blizzard left (rightfully so and in no fault of the company) to start their own studios or climb the ladder elsewhere – which resulted in a dramatic shift in culture over time.

Maybe it’s the perfect storm of success followed by the slow agonizing inevitability of internal and external culture change that often happens.

To be extra crystal clear I am not writing this in jest or as a facetious passive aggressive mockery. I think some people are insightful enough to have a legit discussion with on here without descending into political grandstanding and denice is def one of them.

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Schmidt.Capela

Do you think it’s possible that blizzard got lucky with their older titles, a perfect storm if you will?

Too many legitimate hits to be just luck. The (not-so-)old Blizzard had a knack for reading the market, finding a segment where the then-current offers didn’t align with what players wanted, and create a great game to fill that void. While luck does play a role in this, it requires a hefty dose of talent too.

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Bruno Brito

Yeah, to be fair, luck did played a role. Lightning in a bottle is how Brood War is described.

While the Warcraft IP was carried by talent ( War3 success is nothing if not competence ), WoW itself as a MMO, while solid, didn’t exactly fulfill a lot of what made War3, well, War3.

But since the IP was so strong, people kept playing because the game was solid all around, and let’s be fair here. Outside some other known games, what did the MMO industry had? A crapload of Korean Grinders.

Blizzard had the acumen to build for uncharted territory, and they had the luck of finding a huge base in that uncharted territory and also the luck of being born in pre-industry times. They SET the industry.

PurpleCopper
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PurpleCopper

Can the Overwatch League turn things around?

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rafael12104

Hmm. It really needs to succeed, doesn’t it? They thought it was going to catch wildfire like Dota, but so far its just an aside.

So, not sure if it can, but it needs to do much better.

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Bruno Brito

I highly doubt it. Most of Blizzard’s e-sports projects are mismanaged as f*, and their very focus ( the games ) are usually shallow, so they don’t last long.

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Armsbend

I hope this was laced with sarcasm.

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DeadlyAccurate

I doubt it. I don’t see most people wanting to watch Overwatch games who aren’t already fans. I play nearly every day and have over 1000 hours in Overwatch, and even I only occasionally watch the League.

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Utakata

While they fiddle with Azerite armor in BfA, I feel the flames of Rome burning ever inching closer towards my pigtails…

…my thoughts and feelings go out to those most affected by this. :(

fallwind
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fallwind

It’s always sad that those most hurt by these kinds of downsizings are never the ones responsible for the choices that lead to it in the first place.

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Bruno Brito

in an attempt to turn the company’s fortunes around.

Hah. I’m sure that will work.

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Rolan Storm

Reshuffle? They don’t look falling.