By Eric Tran
During an earnings call on February 12, 2019, massive publisher Activision Blizzard announced that they would be laying off 8% of their employees, leaving about 800 people without a job.
According to Kotaku, the layoffs have affected Activision Publishing who published the Call of Duty series and Destiny games, Blizzard Entertainment who made Overwatch and World of Warcraft, King developers of Candy Crush, and High Moon Studios who created a number of Transformers games.
In the earnings call, Activision Blizzard had posted record setting revenue making $7.5 billion for their 2018 fiscal year. Despite having such a successful year, CEO Bobby Kotick stated “While our financial results for 2018 were the best in our history, we didn’t realize our full potential.”
The company is planning to invest in their biggest franchises. They will increase the number of developers by 20% in 2019 on games such as Call of Duty, Candy Crush, Overwatch, Warcraft, Hearthstone, and Diablo. However, with that increase they are “reducing certain non-development and administrative-related costs,” referring to their 800 employees they laid off.
Layoffs in the gaming industry are a common occurrence. Though it is unusual for a company with so much money, to fire a big percentage of their employees. A company like Nintendo for instance, would never fire their staff even if they were not doing well financially. The late Satoru Iwata had refused to lay off his staff when his company lost profits on the 3Ds back in 2011 and he also took a 50% pay cut according to Wired. In the article, Iwata had this to say:
“I know that some employers publicize their restructuring plan to improve their financial performance by letting a number of their employees go, but at Nintendo, employees make valuable contributions in their respective fields, so I believe that laying off a group of employees will not help to strengthen Nintendo’s business in the long run.”
It’s unfortunate that these layoffs had to happen despite the company doing well financially. Hopefully these employees will be able to bounce back and find a new home.