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Julie Moraine March 11, 2019 4 min read
Reported 209 Blizzard Employees Laid Off Amid Restructuring
News of Blizzard planning to lay off people amid improved sales hit recently with gamers sharing divisive opinions over the issue. Some saw the move as corporate greed, others accepted it as a necessary stepping-stone to bring even better titles. Now, Variety has reported that 209 people of the 800 laid off will be coming directly out of Blizzard.
A Total of 209 Blizzard Employees to Be Laid Off
Activision/Blizzard has experienced some turbulences throughout 2018. Some saw them as game-changers. Others associated them with a tangible decline of the prestigious brand. Third probably didn’t care enough to draw any conclusions.
The company lost a deal with Bungie over Destiny 2, they cancelled the end of competitive Heroes of the Storm (HotS) and told 800 employees to start packing. All of this amid improved financial performance across the company and a newly-announced mobile version for the one of Blizzard’s longest-standing franchises, Diablo.
All of these developments excited a fair bit of discussion and once again – some had their reservations while others resorted to the Internet’s potent tool of piling ridicule. Diablo Immortal’s YouTube trailer must be the most disliked trailer in the history of YouTube, having fetched over 753,000 downvotes.
Amid the bad news, Variety, a respected online media with a section dedicated to gaming events, reported that it had obtained documents revealing the specific number of laid off Blizzard employees, putting the headcount at 209.
What’s Going to Happen with Blizzard’s 209 Workers?
According to Variety reporting, employees in California’s Irvine Santa Monica, Burbank, New York City, Austin, Texas, Bloomington, and Minnesota have been affected. Blizzard’s employees were given compensation and benefits for 60 days, the media specified.
A severance package was also provided, Variety reported, although it was unclear whether it was on top of the benefits and compensation. In 2018, Blizzard began laying off people in Cork, Ireland, offering them one-year pay to quit voluntarily. It was “a lot of cash in one place,” as some employees later said.
Blizzard offered one-year salaries to employees in Cork, Ireland to leave voluntarily in 2018
Based on the available information, Blizzard assessed multiple factors to determine which employees needed to be let go, including redundancy, job elimination, restructuring needs, job skills, business goals and more.
The highest paying jobs in Blizzard are software engineers, according to public data gathered by Glass Door, with Variety reporting 41 lay-offs concerning the engineering department specifically.
Marketing and Live Experiences shed another 29 employees. Variety originally posted a document it had obtained describing the changes regarding the layoffs on file-sharing platform Scribid, but the document has been since removed.
Finding a New Identity
Blizzard is re-focusing its efforts in a major way in 2019, hoping to draw extra profit from new sources, such as a franchised Call of Duty League and the ongoing Overwatch League (OWL).
The announcement that Diablo’s next chapter would be scaled down to fit the needs of mobile gamers was booed at Blizzcon with the company’s employees visibly anxious to break the news.
Having written for Asian esports, we believe that Blizzard are making the right move, although we can’t help but feel annoyed with not seeing a new highly-refined Diablo product played with a mouse and keyboard.
Blizzard also vowed $4 million for a new Hearthstone competitive season along with structural changes and a slightly more grassroots-focused approach, although Hearthstone continues to be slightly expensive to play competitive without being prepared to allocate sufficient funds.
Corporate Greed or Smart Business
Activision CEO Bobby Kotick has said that the conglomerate is looking to let go non-essential staff while building a solid sales-driven future and focusing on specific verticals, such as live services, Battle.net, esports, and advertising.
The company will fund this greater investment by de-prioritizing initiatives that are not meeting expectations and reducing certain non-development and administrative-related costs across the business,” the publisher said in its earnings release. CEO Bobby Kotick
Ultimately, Blizzard and its executives want to bring “the most epic entertainment to players around the world”.