As part of its quarterly earnings call to investors, Activision Blizzard has confirmed it will be laying off “approximately eight per cent” of staff.
Reports over the weekend suggested that the publisher was set to announce “hundreds” of layoffs this week, and today’s news offers further clarity on that figure. Eight per cent of Activision’s workforce, which equalled around 9600 employees in 2018, means that approximately 770 members of staff will be affected by job losses.
In today’s fourth-quarter 2018 earnings report, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick wrote that while the company’s financial results for 2018 “were the best in our history, we didn’t realise our full potential”. As a result, it will be increasing the size of development teams on key franchises – including Call of Duty, CandyCrush, Overwatch, Warcraft, Hearthstone, and Diablo – by around 20 per cent, in order to “accelerate the pace and quality of content for their communities and [to support] a number of new product initiatives”.
However, the publisher is also “de-prioritising initiatives that are not meeting expectations and reducing certain non-development and administrative-related costs across the business”.
Although Activision Blizzard did not specify which areas of the business would be hit, Kotaku reports lay-offs will affect staff across Activision, Blizzard, King, and studios such as High Moon. The website also obtained a note to Blizzard employees from company president J. Allen Brack, which said that cuts were being made as a result of “staffing levels on some teams [being] out of proportion with our current release slate”.
Those affected are promised a “comprehensive” severance package, health benefits, career coaching, job placement assistance, and profit-sharing bonuses for the previous year.
I’ll update this story as more comes in.