Layoffs have become an unfortunately common practice in the video game industry as companies look to manage losses, maximize profits, and appease shareholders. This past summer, we saw one of the industry’s biggest publishers, Activision Blizzard, lay off approximately 50 employees from its esports division amidst turmoil within Overwatch League. Now, Blizzard is reducing its workforce once again, reportedly laying off 10 members of the Hearthstone team.
Reports of layoffs at Blizzard began to come out from the developers themselves, with some of them taking to social media to share the news. One longtime employee took to his LinkedIn page to share that he’d been let go. “After 18 and a half years at Blizzard Entertainment, I've been laid off without notice as of today; the Hearthstone Team is apparently being restructured and my Tools Engineer role is no longer needed.”
Kotaku shared the following quote after reaching out to a Blizzard spokesperson: “Organizational changes were made to the Hearthstone team; as a result a small number of roles have become redundant. We want to thank these employees for their many contributions.” The current understanding is that 10 Hearthstone developers were laid off as part of the restructuring.
It’s unclear what led Blizzard to reduce its Hearthstone team. There aren’t any recent reports about the game financially underperforming or undergoing any major changes. In fact, in one of the aforementioned laid-off employees' LinkedIn responses, he stated that “to the best of my knowledge, Hearthstone was doing well; they had just recently shown off how well we were doing in a team meeting.” Perhaps more clarification on the situation will come out soon. This marks just the latest in what has been an awful streak of layoffs around the video game industry.