GAMING BEHEMOTH Activision Blizzard has announced nearly 800 jobs are to go, in spite of record profits.
The company CEO Bobby Kotick announced the decision on an earnings call overnight in which he described "record results" for 2018. Analysts suggest that although the official line is that the group exceeded expectations, the reality is that it had hoped for more.
In total, 775 jobs will go across studios under the Activision, Blizzard and King stables. Seattle studio Z2Live will be shut completely at the cost of 78 jobs.
The cuts will be made by "de-prioritising initiatives that are not meeting expectations and reducing certain non-development and administrative-related costs across the business," suggesting that coders will bear a lower brunt than other parts.
During the period, the Destiny franchise was moved after the end of the company's relationship with Bungie, and several other big name titles have also underperformed.
Future strategy for the business is likely to revolve around online and live services such as esports, and the franchise business will concentrate on the likes of Candy Crush (King), Call of Duty, Overwatch, Hearthstone and Diablo.
A report in Kokatu contains a letter to staff which essentially tells them that although the growth in staff numbers was necessary, certain parts of the business have become comparatively bloated, which is hollow succour for those about to leave for the last time with their stuff in a box, despite promises of a generous severance.
The move is being taken as a signal that Activision, which bought a majority stake in Blizzard in 2013 for an eyewatering $5.83bn, has become far more involved in the running of its charge, underlined by the departures of several top executives from the latter.
But fans of Blizzard shouldn't be too worried - although 2018 was a quiet year with no new titles, the vast majority of the big-hitter franchises that will be the focus going forwards, come under the Blizzard banner and we can expect a busy year for the offshoot, in spite of the job losses. μ
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