Despite posting a record year of profits, Activision Blizzard underwent a massive round of layoffs today. While the initially revealed layoffs were as part of the live events team, due to the pandemic forcing digital events instead, additional reports indicate that layoffs hit numerous other places within the company, and the total could be as high as 2% of the total workforce, or about 190 people.
Activision initially announced the restructure as a result of reduced live events, and the company changing its esports division to account for the increase in digital. The restructure saw around 50 people let go, mostly in relation to Overwatch League and Call of Duty League. Activision Blizzard president of sports and entertainment Tony Petitti says the move is to shift away from a reliance on event-centered social gatherings in the future, with lessons learned from the last year.
“We learned a lot last year in terms of how the leagues can be structured for online play, and we’ll look to carry forward the best practices from that,” said Petitti. “In terms of timing, it’s a reaction to the realities of how the leagues are playing and what resources we need to allocate to serve best the league, owners, teams, and fans.”
Those affected by the layoffs reportedly received 90 days of severance, a full year of health benefits, and a $200 gift card to Blizzard’s PC launcher, Battle.net.
However, further reports from Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier suggest that the number of people laid off could be as much as four times higher than what Activision Blizzard initially revealed, and from different areas of the company. One source familiar told Schreier that it was “less than 2% of total staff,” which would be about 190 people.
Activision Blizzard had originally announced that the layoffs were 50 people in the esports/live events departments but the real number appears to be much higher. Person familiar says it was less than 2% of total staff (2% would be around 190)
— Jason Schreier (@jasonschreier) March 16, 2021
An Activision spokesperson confirmed that additional layoffs did occur, but didn’t comment on how many people were affected.
Back in 2019, Activision Blizzard laid off more than 800 people following a record year.[Via: Game Informer]
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