Blizzard admits to more layoffs, starts up alumni network

    
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Last week, Blizzard Entertainment began laying off 190 employees, 50 of whom reportedly came from esports and live events. Now we know which other departments might be affected, as over the weekend we learned the studio is also putting an undisclosed number of European staff out of work due to closing and consolidating its publishing offices on the continent.

Fingers crossed that those affected score one of those sweet $200 gift cards.

“Players are increasingly choosing to connect with our games digitally,” said an Activision-Blizzard representative to Games Industry. “We have shared plans with our teams in Europe for how we would evolve as an organization, adapting to this change to serve our players and best positioning the region for future growth. We will be taking extensive steps to support all employees and ease the transition for those of our colleagues who might be impacted by these proposed changes.”

Speaking to this last part, the company announced that it’s starting up the Activision Blizzard Alumni Community, a networking site to talk about games and maybe get a job to replace the one these developers and staff lost. The initiative is being run by Enterprise Alumni, which operates other such LinkedIn-like sites for companies and boasts a 20% job fulfillment rate.

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Arktouros

Never understand the outrage on these kinds of matters. Everything that we can see about these scenarios (the past layoff and this one) it has to deal with a company shifting priorities given the realities of the day. Due to the ongoing plague many things have gone digital and no longer require people to coordinate and work live events where they interact with the public. I know of companies who have sent almost all their workforce home and are downgrading their properties because they no longer need huge offices.

People who don’t think they should be fired or their experience should be leveraged most businesses just don’t operate that way. They’re not going to handle some event coordinator a mop and tell them to clean the break room. They’ll let people go and if they’re a good fit for another position they’ll reapply in most cases (and have a leg up cause they have experience with the company).

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wjowski

Well that gold-plated yacht isn’t going to pay for itself.

MilitiaMasterV
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MilitiaMasterV

Got to love how people fanperson out about this company even though it’s basically treating it’s workers like crap.

‘We don’t care how badly you treat people, just keep providing us what we love! We’ll even let you treat us like crap too!’

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Scott Lewis

It’s disgusting how blatant the company is now to 100% maximize profits for stockholders and the gaming is a distant 2nd. The Kotick pay is beyond the pale and obviously should not be what it is(nor should any CEO make that much over its workers ) , but the fact the overall purpose of the company is no longer about gaming really is another sign the entire economic system is broken atm. When the majority of large companies become focused on stock price , and not their actual products and services , and are rewarded for it with tax policy and financial laws in their favor , the system is fundamentally broken.

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Moon-and-Star

There was one Acivision B white knight who’s always first to their defense, don’t see him here now… Such a shame, I had non-popcorn ready.

Activision B have stooped so low, like carved a hole in the rock bottom and delved further down. I don’t understand what kind of people play their newer games like Overwatch or WoW that are B2P or Subscription and are pleased about it… Such a waste of good money only to feed that fatass Kotickm, like he hasn’t stuffed his face enough already. Soon his face will bloat so much a single picture of him will be hundreds of gigabytes in size so they will stop posting his fat, abhorrent face due to high internet traffic reasons.

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Armsman

Fingers crossed that those affected score one of those sweet $200 gift cards.

IDK – I doubt I’d continue to support a Company that laid me off AFTER ANOTHER YEAR of HIGH PROFITS with a CEO that gets an insanely huge compensation packet for making said layoffs every year.

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Hurbster

How much was Bobby’s recent bonus again?

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Bryan Correll

Enough to give every ActiBlizz employee 20k if it was divided out.

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Hostagecat

Yeah since Kotick work so hard for every one of those dollars.

That is sarcasm……

I mean how much more productive do think those employees would be if they got 20k in there paycheck, but noooooooooooooo….lets give it to Bobby so he can continue layoffs part 15.

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Kickstarter Donor
Greaterdivinity

Fingers crossed that those affected score one of those sweet $200 gift cards.

I know these have elicited some sideeye but like…the number of folks I’ve seem RIGHTEOUSLY OUTRAGED about this grave offense to the former employees dignity has been way out of hand. To hear them tell it, you’d think this was ALL that laid off employees received. Not like…3 months severance (which is damn good in the US) and a year of medical coverage (which is HUGE), benefits which compare to what union folks get. The gift card is a little something extra they can use or not, because I assume they’re professionals in an industry where turnover is expected and don’t hold personal grudges against every prior employer.

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jealouspirate

Yeah, social media and “game journalists” really latched onto that giftcard thing for outrage clicks and memes, but really the severance package was quite good by most standards. Three months pay and a full year a medical is nothing to sneeze at, and more than they’re required.

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Utakata

Yeah, RIGHTEOUSLY OUTRAGED at the RIGHTEOUSLY OUTRAGED…

…but along the way in putting out this Stan’tasy in the narrative, I gotta feeling that few critical points got missed. Just saying.

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jealouspirate

Hi Uta, nice to see you. Your pigtails are looking especially pink today! Have a good one.

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Utakata

There’s this saying I thinks, that flattery won’t get you anywhere. <3

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Utakata

But you know that isn’t the really the issue. The expendability of those employed, no matter how “generous” that golden handshake was, doesn’t distract from the failure of the neoliberal system that those folks are out of work. While those that gave them said severance are padding their wallets with the excesses. You of all people, should know that.

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Kickstarter Donor
Greaterdivinity

Sorta kinda? For esport event folks it makes sense, they were primarily in roles based around physical events and since those aren’t happening…well you don’t much need to maintain them right now. Shitty, but sadly it’s basic capitalism.

I’ll avoid the broader political/economic discussions (slowly puts away hammer and sickle), but the most salient criticism I think we can find here is that despite their claims that they’d need to hire 3K+ new developers a year or two back all we’ve appeared to see is one round of layoffs after another.

Couple this with Kotick getting his $200M performance bonus for the past 4 years or whatever and you have the appearance of a pretty awful company.

But hey, if you buy a sloth pet the money will go to charity and Activision-Blizzard can write that off of their taxes! DONATE TO CHARITIES ON BEHALF OF MASSIVE CORPORATIONS TO LOWER THEIR TAX LIABILITY! I rarely ever do that shit, if I’m gonna donate I’ll just bloody donate. I’m not lowering the tax liability for some corporation, I don’t even write my own bloody donations off in my taxes because to me that defeats the whole bloody point of making a charitable donation to begin with.

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Utakata

To be clear, I really didn’t want to put you on the spot…but I think it should be clear where you are coming from – putting a bit more context to your OP. As there is a difference between taking the position of “Yeah, that’s pretty bad…but it could of been worst,” versus, “This is, the nature of doing business…so suck it up!” The latter is clearly not where you are coming from at all. And is much appreciated. :)

That said, (and adjusts the pink shirt) I’m still not sure I can fully get behind what you said. But I do get what you said. So thanks for taking the time to share and explain that. /bows

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Kickstarter Donor
Greaterdivinity

I wish we existed in a different reality where there was more priority placed on retaining good employees, even if that meant retraining them in wildly different fields if they choose to stay with a company. But alas we live in a society, so we have to make sense of things within that context while pushing for what improvements we think will help folks most.

I’m just looking at the silver lining that at least there’s a pretty generous severance package, which is a helluva lot more than most developers/publishers can say when it comes time to make big layoffs.
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Bruno Brito

I’m just looking at the silver lining that at least there’s a pretty generous severance package, which is a helluva lot more than most developers/publishers can say when it comes time to make big layoffs.

While indeed a silver-lining, i’m not happy for what is pocket money for the likes of Kotick. Instead, i would like this to be a reminder that workers are at the mercy of CEOs and corporations that behave like complete sociopaths. Expecting them to do the bare minimum actively gave us all pause.

It would be nice if government started keeping a close tab upon these parasitic existences. SPECIALLY considering that in 2018, Blizzard did not just not paid any taxes, they collected a 228 million tax credit. Which means the american people paid this dogshit company because…they fucking exist.

If i say what i think Kotick should do, i’ll be banned, so let’s just keep it that way.

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Kickstarter Donor
Greaterdivinity

Ah yes, the accounting fuckery that companies use to limit tax liability, write off losses, and often pay less in income taxes than their own employees do.

And a big ‘ol yes to the absolute bullshit that is the massive income inequality between employees and executives. I mean, you can only buy so many yachts before you start running out of places to store them, and then what are you gonna do with all that money?

MurderHobo
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MurderHobo

Worst of all is the overarching situation where all but the wealthy are priced out of legal recourse. $700 per billable hour at the low end just to pursue a case against the system means the general public gets no recourse unless it’s through a class-action.

The corporate entities get to do things that you and I would be consigned to ruination for doing, with the knowledge that it’s all just a cost-advantage calculation and make-work for their legal and PR teams.

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Bruno Brito

I mean, you can only buy so many yachts before you start running out of places to store them, and then what are you gonna do with all that money?

That’s honestly the worst part. It’s been a hot minute since the ultra rich ever contributed to economy ( i’m of the opinion they never did, not as nobleman and clergymen, not as ultra rich bankers financing the most despicable authoritarian governments, and not as CEOs. The heavy lifting of the economy is ALWAYS done by the middle-class enterpreneurs and the lower class consumers. The rest is praying for trickle-down, which as we all know, never happens ), and this is such a case.

Blizzard right now is doing the bare minimum, and even that is being paid with citizenry money. No one should laud them for anything.

MilitiaMasterV
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MilitiaMasterV

I want to hug your, MurderHobo, and GreaterDivinity’s last comments here. Along with their hammer/sickle comment up there. I’m not going to like them because they need more than likes.

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Giggilybits

I guess it all depends on how many years you’ve worked at a place. In Canada I worked in a factory that shipped its jobs to Mexico and I received two weeks for every year I worked there. I worked 16 years and took about 28k home. I would think Blizzard being a billion dollar business would be able to contribute a little more.

John Artemus
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John Artemus

Working in any entertainment medium is beyond tough but it can also be rewarding. Not often. But sometimes.

Except the video game industry. That’s the one medium where you work punishing hours, face unbelievable pressure, unrealistic deadlines and expectations, extended periods separated from your family and loved ones, all for okay pay.

And then at the end of it you get to look forward to gamers trashing you and your work and hating you for often times trivial things.

Then you will likely be laid off.

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Bryan Correll

Every year there’s a new graduating class of programmers who grew up playing games and think working in the games industry would be the bee’s knees. By the time they get burned there’s a fresh new batch of summer children ready to take their spots.

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Jon Wax

seems like this industry is in flux. kinda expecting a lot of closures and stoppages on games going forward. overhead is too high, output is too low and slow, talent is hoarded amongst certain companies, tons of unreal expectations from the end user…

not a good time to be in end of the first third of the mmo you’re working on