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