Activision-Blizzard has laid off another round of employees

Just under 190 out jobs during the pandemic as Kotick rakes in an extra $200M

    
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Don’t look now, but Activision-Blizzard just laid off another batch of people.

According to a Bloomberg report, the company has slashed just under 190 jobs, 50 of them relating to esports and live events (this seems to be the reason for some sites reporting 50 layoffs and some reporting under 2%/under 190, but Bloomberg’s piece makes clear the firings came from multiple departments, more than just the 50 in esports). Cut staff will get 90 days of severance, a year of continuing health benefits, and “$200 gift cards to Battle.net.”

Activision-Blizzard infamously laid off over 800 employees at the end of 2019, just after posting a record-high quarterly financial gain. Last year, it also shuttered its Versailles office and cut back staff in Oceania, laying off a total of several hundred more. Last year, execs said the company plans to hire an additional 2000 workers over the next few years “to meet its production demands.” During February’s investor call, that number rose to 3000.

According to Sports Business Journal, the layoffs in the esports division reflect what Blizzard learned during the COVID pandemic in regard to live esports. “In terms of timing, it’s a reaction to the realities of how the leagues are playing and what resources we need to allocate to best serve the league, owners, teams and fans,” Activision Blizzard President of Sports & Entertainment Tony Petitti told the publication.

Incidentally, Bobby Kotick will score an extra $200M in payouts thanks to the Shareholder Value Creation Incentive loophole in his contract. This is one of the ongoing financial disparities within Acti-Blizz that multiple investment groups have been agitating against over the last year.

Source: Bloomberg via GIbiz. Thanks, Bruno!
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Raleigh-St-Clair
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Raleigh-St-Clair

Same old tricks… make profits, but still fire people… and the bottom line looks VERY impressive, and probably even triggers bonuses. And corporate leaders wonder why the public thinks they’re scum? Gee, let’s think about that…

Alyn
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Alyn

This-

“The ignorant mind, with its infinite afflictions, passions, and evils, is rooted in the three poisons. Greed, anger, and delusion.”
Bodhidharma

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IronSalamander8 .

Absolutely hate seeing this kind of thing. CEOs in the US are overpaid to an obscene level (likely elsewhere too, but I understand that in Japan they aren’t as ludicrously overpaid as here, is anyone else as bad as here in the US?), Kotick is even more egregious than most, which is saying something.

Seeing them fire people and then hire others at lower wage always comes off selfish, greedy, and yes, evil. Not like they aren’t raking in the cash.

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Bruno Brito

Specially considering that Kotick is making a name for himself as someone who fires under profitable conditions.

There’s a reason why investors are pissed at him, and why he’s being paid because of a loophole. It’s clear that he’s majorly incompetent, and these moves will completely destroy the company long term. No one who cares about Acti-Blizzard living long should defend Kotick here.

This is purely making up the books to make them better. Not sustainable as a plan. I pity the CEO that will clean Kotick’s mess.

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Brinto Sfj

He won’t ever be fired. I am willing to bet that he has created another loophole to keep himself in the company and getting hundreds of million $$ every year.

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kjempff

The problem is the contracts for top CEOs incentivice short term cannibalism of a company. The higher the positive end result is in a year, the higher the CEOs bonus. But it is “easy” to make good numbers short term by cuts that won’t have an emidiate negative effect, but will show several years after because the company did not invent and invest in its own future.
By that time, the highly succesful (and rich) CEO will have moved on.

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Munchmeat2

I think e-sports as a whole isn’t very profitable. I think companies are finally starting to realize that these events were best served by the grass root
player run organizations that traditionally organized these events.

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Dobablo

eSports can be effective advertising; they drive player recruitment, retention, community and microtransactions. They should supplement the main game rather than being the main focus.

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Bryan Correll

Kotick’s compensation was already unjustifiably high. $200 million is frankly obscene. Raising the pay of an average ActiBlizz employee by $20 thousand sounds pretty generous, but not when it’s all going to one person.

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rk70534

Seems like they are firing people to hire replacements with worse pay and benefits, basically.

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jealouspirate

For reference, Activision-Blizzard has approximately 10,000 employees. Large corporations hire and fire people all the time depending on their needs and business decisions. A reduction of 2% during the pandemic is hardly a major news story.

I dislike Kotick as much as the next guy, but his (shamefully high) compensation likely has nothing to do with this. It’s not like they couldn’t afford these 190 people because Kotick is taking up all the money. They just made a business decision that they didn’t need or want these people anymore.

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Shane Sargent

Tow…the…line

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Khrome

On the other hand, a company which is not impacted by the pandemic at all – In fact, it seems it’s making more money than ever – Using the pandemic as an excuse to fire people doesn’t seem to be a good business decision as much as it is a dick move, to be brutally honest.

It’s just more of an example of how companies are trying to shirk all societal responsibilities in favour of a few people at the top.

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Bruno Brito

And how they have a unlimited supply of armchair lawyers in the cyberspace just because they did some mediocre games 20 years back.

People who defend this shit are either naive or bad-faith.

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Utakata

….

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Utakata

Saying large corporations hire and fire people all the time because it’s a business decision is just stating a tautology, Mr. Bruno…

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Bruno Brito

What did i do?

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Utakata

Er…nothing you did. Just observing what the OP did using rambling on language. o.O

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Dobablo

Petitti didn’t divulge specifics… But he noted that the division… is planning for a future… less dependent on live events…
“We learned a lot last year in terms of how the leagues can be structured for online play”
(https://esportsobserver.com/abe-restructure-layoffs/)

That could upset some owners that were sold on the concept of having crowds and city-based teams staging local events and major homestand weekends.
The more optimistic reading is that they are only cutting the home/away travel and city teams will play “online” games on-stage in front of fans against opposition teams playing remotely in own stadium.

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Pheeb Hello

A lot of them are probably just people they don’t need any more now they’re not travelling.