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.