Activision Blizzard hits esports division with over 50 layoffs

The massive gaming corporation is reportedly laying off 50 employees.


Updated at 1:54 p.m. PT: New reports from industry insider Jason Schreier state that the layoffs at Activision Blizzard aren't just limited to the company's esports division. Developers at King, the company behind Candy Crush, have also been laid off. It's currently unknown how many more employees are being laid off.

Layoffs are a harsh reality across most major industries, and gaming is no exception. Now, one of the biggest and most profitable entities in the gaming world is cutting down its roster as it’s being reported that Activision Blizzard is laying off 50 employees from its esports division.

This report comes from the Sports Business Journal, as the outlet spoke this morning with Tony Petitti, the President of Sports and Entertainment at Activision Blizzard. Petitti cites the unexpected need for change and reinvention during the pandemic as a leading cause of the layoffs.

“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,” Petitti said during his chat with SBJ.

It’s currently unknown what specific individuals/positions are being let go, but they all come from the company’s esports arm. The executive also indicates that the company will look to change the way it operates on a grander scale in the future. SBJ states that Activision Blizzard is “planning for a future where its business will look different and less dependent on live events.”

Overwatch League and Call of Duty League are two of the biggest leagues in all of esports, and will undoubtedly see some changes following the layoffs and restructuring at Activision Blizzard. The company had to make some major changes during the pandemic, specifically in how it handles its live events. With this news, it looks like Blizzard may be gearing up for some permanent changes when things start to return to normal.

Interestingly enough, this all comes just over a month after Activision Blizzard reported a 24% year-over-year revenue growth to investors.

Those being laid off are being informed today, and are set to receive severance packages. We’ll continue to monitor the situation surrounding the layoff at Activision Blizzard. For future updates to the story, be sure to come back to Shacknews.

News Editor

Donovan is a young journalist from Maryland, who likes to game. His oldest gaming memory is playing Pajama Sam on his mom's desktop during weekends. Pokémon Emerald, Halo 2, and the original Star Wars Battlefront 2 were some of the most influential titles in awakening his love for video games. After interning for Shacknews throughout college, Donovan graduated from Bowie State University in 2020 with a major in broadcast journalism and joined the team full-time. He is a huge Scream nerd and film fanatic that will talk with you about movies and games all day. You can follow him on twitter @Donimals_

From The Chatty
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    March 16, 2021 12:42 PM

    Donovan Erskine posted a new article, Activision Blizzard hits esports division with over 50 layoffs

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      March 16, 2021 1:21 PM

      Damn losing your job sucks. My heart goes out to those people.

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      March 16, 2021 2:03 PM

      What surprises me is that they had an esports division big enough that 50 people were deemed disposable

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        March 16, 2021 2:11 PM


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        March 16, 2021 2:30 PM

        I've heard the practice referred to as "Empire Building", though Wikipedia defines it differently.

        Basically at a certain level of management the amount of money you can demand is contingent on how many people you oversee. Consequently there's a perverse incentive to hire as many people as possible, regardless of if there's enough work to do, so that you can command a greater salary for overseeing them. And then when times get tough those people are the first to go.

        No idea if that's what's happening here but when you find out things like Twitter laying off 400+ people which is 11% people and you're wondering how in the fuck there's need for over 4,000 people at Twitter, stuff like this is why.

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        March 16, 2021 4:00 PM

        I wonder what they were all doing. I know all the game companies and hardware makers are trying to be eSports #1 and all that.

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        March 16, 2021 7:19 PM

        If you read between the lines there are two things going on here.

        1) Activision has its own esports management group, event planners, producers, finance, marketers, etc. Blizzard had a sizeable staff as well. This is partly a consolidation move and Activision runs the show. I’m guessing they rolled a bunch of roles into one. Like one person managing Hearthstone, SC and Heroes esports. If that’s even a thing, instead of having 3 people.

        2) Covid. It’s been too long without live events and that was one of their biggest duties. It’s going to be down for the foreseeable future. Instead of keeping all those people on, they let them go and then hire when they have an actual need.

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      March 16, 2021 4:58 PM

      I admit I don't understand esports at all

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