Activision Blizzard has this afternoon begun the process of laying off hundreds of employees amid financial turmoil at the company. While the exact number remains unknown, the company’s quarterly earnings call has revealed that 8% of staff would be affected by the cuts. This puts the potential number at approximately 800 team members based on 2018 employee data.
According to early reports from Kotaku these layoffs have begun across Activision, King, and Blizzard, with the later cuts being to departments other than game development. The affected departments supposedly include esports and publishing, which were rumored to be the hardest hit by the downsizing. The company has also stated that it will simultaneously be focusing its remaining resources on game development for titles such as Diablo and Call of Duty.
An internal memo to staff reportedly obtained by Kotaku outlines Activision Blizzard’s reasoning for the layoffs as well as detailing the expected severance packages for team members. Penned by Blizzard president J. Allen Brack, the note explains that over the past few years many roles within the company had been created to support non-game development activities, but now the size of these support teams is out of proportion with the company’s current output. Brack goes on to apologize for the need to downsize across the US teams but also notes that similar readjustments may need to be made to regional offices also.
According to the note, Activision Blizzard will be offering the affected staff continued health benefits, job placement assistance, career coaching, and profit-sharing bonuses based on the previous year of employment.
The layoffs have been announced in conjunction with Activision Blizzard’s quarterly earnings called, as reported on yesterday. The transcript of the earnings call will be made available later today but it is known that amid these layoffs the CEO of Activision Blizzard Bobby Kotick has told investors that the company achieved record results in 2018. Kotick went on to say that 2018 was also a year of missed expectations so an internal restructure would be necessary to achieve expectations for 2019.