Activision Blizzard has laid off 800 employees despite the fact they “achieved record results in 2018.”
Earlier today, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick told investors during their quarterly review that the company just posted their best financial year ever. Which apparently also requires them to slash their workforce by 8%.
This mixed message is apparently the result of Activision Blizzard missing their 2018 earnings target and also lowering their expectations for 2019. Or in other words, because Activision Blizzard made more money than ever before--but not as much money as they wanted--they have to slash 800 jobs to be more profitable.
Reports began surfacing earlier this week that the company was about to announce large layoffs, which caused Activision Blizzard employees to arrive at work crying today in anticipation of the bad news.
According to Kotaku, most of the layoffs happened to non-game-development sections of the company, with e-sports and publishing getting hit particularly hard. Layoffs were spread across Activision’s publishing team, Blizzard’s headquarters, and smaller developers under Activision such as High Moon Studios.
Development teams working on Diablo and Call Of Duty projects were left unaffected.
A letter sent from Blizzard President J. Allen Brack earlier this afternoon tried to break the news as gently as possible. “Over the last few years, many of our non-development teams expanded to support various needs,” read the letter obtained by Kotaku. “Currently staffing levels on some teams are out of proportion with our current release slate. This means we need to scale down some areas of our organization. I’m sorry to share that we will be parting ways with some of our colleagues in the U.S. today. In our regional offices, we anticipate similar evaluations, subject to local requirements.”
As they brace for today's layoffs, Blizzard employees are crying and hugging in the parking lot, according to a person there. Still no official word from the company, but people in publishing and esports are expecting big cuts. Earnings is at 5pm ET - news should be around then.— Jason Schreier (@jasonschreier) February 12, 2019
Unlike the closure of Telltale Games, Blizzard is offering comprehensive severance packages for terminated employees, including extended health benefits, career, and job placement assistance, as well as profit sharing bonuses for 2018.
Starkly contrasted is a press release sent by Kotick to Activision investors today, which says that their “financial results for 2018 were the best in our history,” but that the company “didn’t realize our full potential.” To reach that potential, the company will consolidate and make “important leadership changes,” while leveraging their “powerful owned franchises” and their “extraordinarily talented employees.”
What’s left of them, anyway.