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Layoffs at Activision Blizzard have been confirmed during the earnings call earlier today. The company plans to eliminate 8% of its non-development employees according to Activision Blizzard's CEO Bobby Kotick, who told investors that the main focus in 2019 is stabilization and restructuring due to missed expectations in 2018.
UPDATE #2: President of Blizzard, J. Allen Brack, posted about the layoffs and Blizzard's future in more detail.
Over the past few months, I’ve met with many people throughout Blizzard, talking about how we create our future. One thing that remains constant: we are committed to creating epic games and entertainment experiences.
Our development pipeline is strong, and we have the largest lineup of games that we’ve ever had. At the same time, Blizzard tries to have a level of craftsmanship and excellence in all that we do. Maintaining those standards as we continue expanding these worlds takes both time and talented developers.
With that in mind, we have plans to add to game development. We are dedicated to bringing you more content across existing game franchises and bringing our unannounced projects to life. Esports and the Overwatch League are also important priorities, and we will continue to produce great competitive content.
To better support these priorities, we need to reorganize some of our non-development teams. As a result, we will be reducing the number of non-development positions in North America and anticipate a related process in our regional offices over the coming months subject to local requirements. This was an extremely difficult decision, and we want to acknowledge the effort of everyone who has contributed to Blizzard. To assist with the transition, we are offering each impacted employee a severance package that includes additional pay, benefits continuation, and career and recruiting support to help them find their next opportunity. These people are members of the Blizzard family—they’ve cared deeply and contributed greatly to our work here and we are extremely grateful for all they’ve done.
As difficult as some of these organizational changes are, I am confident in Blizzard’s future and we will continue working hard to live up to not only our mission, but your expectations. We look forward to sharing everything with you when it’s ready.
J. Allen Brack
UPDATE #1: Community Manager Ythisens has been laid off.
Placeholder for tweet 1095450053001371649 In an effort to reinforce the foundation for growth, the plan is to invest more for their biggest, internally owned franchises and de-prioritize games and initiatives that are not meeting their expectations by reducing certain non-development and administrative-related costs across their business.
Blizzard had 35 million MAUs in the quarter (down from 37 million MAUs in Q3 2018), as Overwatch and Hearthstone saw sequential stability and World of Warcraft saw expected declines post the expansion release this summer.
Building on a 11-year partnership, Blizzard extended its joint venture with NetEase to publish its games in China through January 2023.
Activision Blizzard plans to increase development resources by 20% for Diablo, Hearthstone, Overwatch, and World of Warcraft.
Destiny did not meet financial expectations of the company, so they transferred publishing rights for the game back to Bungie.
Call of Duty was the #1 selling console franchise worldwide in 2018, a feat accomplished for nine of the last ten years. Full-game downloads for the game were over 40% of console sell-through. A mobile Call of Duty title is planned for the franchise.
The company is reducing the number of non-development positions by 8% and increasing devs across key franchises by 20%.
According to Bloomberg, Activision Blizzard plans to cut hundreds of jobs due to slowing sales Tuesday.
The layoffs are reportedly part of a restructuring aimed at centralizing functions and boosting profit. Activision Blizzard shares dropped by 2.5% to $42.88 on Friday. Hearthstone and Overwatch playerbase is shrinking. Destiny 2 sales were disappointing, and as a consequence, Activision handed over publishing rights for the game back to Bungie earlier in January. Two CFOs left Activision Blizzard so far in 2019. Spencer Neumann left to join Netflix and Amrita Ahuja left the company for Square.
Video game giants are struggling and it's not just Activison Blizzard. Electronic Arts share fell 13% Wednesday, following the latest Battlefield V disappointment. Activision Blizzard is supposed to announce these mass layoffs Tuesday. What do you think? Let us know in the comments!
Blizzard today announced the release of four books, scheduled for Fall 2019: The Art of Hearthstone Vol. 2, The Art of Diablo, The Cinematic Art of WoW & The WoW Pop-Up Book. The books will be available for purchase on the Blizzard Gear Store or at your local bookstore.
We’re pleased to announce four new books coming to stores this fall. Whether you’re into Hearthstone, Diablo, or World of Warcraft (or all the above), there’s something special waiting for you within the pages of these collectible volumes.
The Art of Hearthstone: Year of the Kraken Something stirs in the dark . . .
The second volume of The Art of Hearthstone dives deep into the Year of the Kraken, the first year of Hearthstone’s standard format. Enjoy 144 pages consisting of hundreds of illustrations from the corruptive cults of Whispers of the Old Gods, the glamourous disco of One Night in Karazhan, and the turf wars of Means Streets of Gadgetzan. Year of the Kraken goes into detail on the Hearthstone team’s artistic process for card art, game boards, and other visual designs, while also exploring the challenges and triumphs of creating a game enjoyed by millions of players around the globe.
Purchase the first volume today on the Blizzard Gear Store or at your favorite local bookstore.
The Art of Diablo For more than 20 years, the artists behind Diablo have conjured new visions of the High Heavens and the Burning Hells, built nightmarish corridors filled with monsters and demons, and unleashed swarms of malevolent creatures upon players worldwide. The Art of Diablo plunges into the concept, design, and environmental art that has defined the world of Sanctuary and the Eternal Conflict at the core of the Diablo series.
The Cinematic Art of World of Warcraft The drums of war thunder once again . . .
Over the course of World of Warcraft’s 15-year history, each new chapter in the game’s story has been bolstered through an array of epic cinematics; The Cinematic Art of World of Warcraft goes behind the scenes with the team who built these movies. With never-before-seen concept art and accounts of the creative and technical process, this is the definitive visual gallery of how countless artists helped bring the world of Azeroth to life in incredible detail and motion.
World of Warcraft Pop-Up Book Choose your faction, pick your weapon, and prepare for an astonishing vision of the world of Azeroth like you’ve never seen before!
Built by best-selling paper engineer Matthew Reinhart, the World of Warcraft Pop-Up Book brings the beloved locations of Warcraft to life, from the classic faction hubs of Orgrimmar and Stormwind, to the battle-scarred lands of Lordaeron and Teldrassil, and even the new capital cities of Kul Tiras and Zandalar!
Each page unfolds into an eye-popping treat, depicting iconic sites with brand-new art and interactive pieces.
Keep an eye on your local booksellers or online shops for when pre-sales go live.
Bungie today announced on their website that they're regaining publishing rights for Destiny. They thanked Activision for their partnership on the game and said they're ready to publish on their own moving forward.
When we first launched our partnership with Activision in 2010, the gaming industry was in a pretty different place. As an independent studio setting out to build a brand new experience, we wanted a partner willing to take a big leap of faith with us. We had a vision for Destiny that we believed in, but to launch a game of that magnitude, we needed the support of an established publishing partner. With Activision, we created something special. To date, Destiny has delivered a combination of over 50 million games and expansions to players all around the world. More importantly, we’ve also witnessed a remarkable community – tens of millions of Guardians strong – rise up and embrace Destiny, to play together, to make and share memories, and even to do truly great things that reach far beyond the game we share, to deliver a positive impact on people’s everyday lives. We have enjoyed a successful eight-year run and would like to thank Activision for their partnership on Destiny. Looking ahead, we’re excited to announce plans for Activision to transfer publishing rights for Destiny to Bungie. With our remarkable Destiny community, we are ready to publish on our own, while Activision will increase their focus on owned IP projects. The planned transition process is already underway in its early stages, with Bungie and Activision both committed to making sure the handoff is as seamless as possible. With Forsaken, we’ve learned, and listened, and leaned in to what we believe our players want from a great Destiny experience. Rest assured there is more of that on the way. We’ll continue to deliver on the existing Destiny roadmap, and we’re looking forward to releasing more seasonal experiences in the coming months, as well as surprising our community with some exciting announcements about what lies beyond. Thank you so much for your continued support. Our success is owed in no small part to the incredible community of players who have graced our worlds with light and life. We know self-publishing won’t be easy; there’s still much for us to learn as we grow as an independent, global studio, but we see unbounded opportunities and potential in Destiny. We know that new adventures await us all on new worlds filled with mystery, adventure, and hope. We hope you’ll join us there. See you starside. BUNGiE