Despite record breaking revenue Blizzard lays off over 800 employees
Publisher Activision Blizzard has begun its long-rumored layoff process
Informing employees on 12.2.2019. that it will be cutting staff. On an earnings call this afternoon, the company said that it would be eliminating 8% of its staff. In 2018, Activision Blizzard had roughly 9,600 employees, which would mean nearly 800 people are now out of work.
The campaign began when the group took to Twitter with the hashtag #FireBobbyKotick after the publisher announced it was laying off 800 staff despite record yearly revenue.
Some of the tweets say:
"Upending 800 workers' lives while raking in millions in bonuses for you and your c-suite buddies isn't leadership, it's theft," said Game Workers Unite.
"We, the workers of Activision and their friends, have had enough. Join us in saying that it's time to #FireBobbyKotick."
While Activision Blizzard posted $1.98 billion profit for 2018, up from $1.3 billion the year prior, Kotick told investors that the publisher hasn't "grown at the rates that reflect the opportunities our industry afford".
Game Workers Unite argued that Kotick's $30 million salary is "built from the stolen wages of his workers".
The organisation also took issue the decision to offer newly appointed CFO Dennis Durkin a sweetener worth $15 million in cash and shares.
Game Workers Unite continued: "It's disgusting to hear Kotick boasting about record revenue for the company then announcing an 8% staffing cut in the next breath... The cycle of layoffs continue to derail our industry because of the prioritization of shareholder profits over workers lives and quality game development."
The mega-publisher began notifying those who are being laid off across its various organizations, which include Activision, Blizzard, and King.
On the earnings call, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick told investors that the company had “once again achieved record results in 2018" but that the company would be consolidating and restructuring because of missed expectations for 2018 and lowered expectations for 2019. While in the press release to investors, Activision CEO Bobby Kotick wrote: “While our financial results for 2018 were the best in our history, we didn’t realize our full potential. To help us reach our full potential, we have made a number of important leadership changes. These changes should enable us to achieve the many opportunities our industry affords us, especially with our powerful owned franchises, our strong commercial capabilities, our direct digital connections to hundreds of millions of players, and our extraordinarily talented employees.” The company said it would be cutting mainly non-game-development departments and bolstering its development staff for franchises like Call of Duty and Diablo.
At Blizzard, the layoffs appear to only have affected non-game-development departments, such as publishing and esports, both of which were expected to be hit hard.