Given the week that Activision-Blizzard just had – capping off a record financial year by haphazardly firing 800 employees, literally provoking union groups to step up their organization and call for the head of the top brass – you might be wondering about the health of the company going forward from a gamer’s perspective.
One of the stated reasons for cutting so many staff across the global corporation was that Acti-Blizz is supposedly mandating a 20% increase in core development staff on big live games like World of Warcraft and Overwatch as well as upcoming games like the Diablo titles in production. I bet a lot of folks in our specific audience are thinking, sweet, cut back on esports, produce more actual content, what’s not to like? Of course, the cuts affected more than esports; it also affected art teams, QA teams, writing teams, and community teams, which aren’t as negligible as some commentators seem to think.
Plus, adding 20% more to a team you’ve just slashed isn’t necessarily going to result in an equivalent 20% more content (or faster content). I have serious doubts about the future: Even if those increased content producers materialize, can they turn around the games’ fortunes fast enough? And in WoW’s case, there’s an awful lot riding on 2019 and the success of WoW Classic. It makes me nervous as hell.
How about you? Are you concerned about the future of World of Warcraft and Blizzard’s other online titles? If you were concerned before, are you more concerned now?