Activision Blizzard Q4 2018 Earnings Call and Layoffs
Kotaku is reporting that Activision Blizzard is cutting positions across its organizations, including Blizzard. Layoffs at Blizzard are limited to non-development teams, both in the US and regional offices.

  • Activision transferred publishing rights for Destiny back to Bungie earlier this year.
  • Blizzard had 35M MAUs in the quarter, as Overwatch and Hearthstone saw stability and World of Warcraft saw expected declines post the expansion release this summer.
  • Activision Blizzard wants to de-prioritize games and initiatives that aren't meeting expectations
  • Activision Blizzard will be reducing certain non-development and administrative-related costs.
  • Investing more for biggest, internally-owned franchises.
  • More upfront releases, in-game content, mobile, and geographic expansion.
  • Investments in esports leagues and advertising
  • 20% increase in development resources in aggregate for Call of Duty, Candy Crush, Overwatch, Warcraft, Hearthstone and Diablo.
  • World of Warcraft already has a regular cadence of releases and content.
  • Diablo's headcount will grow substantially, as the teams work on multiple projects.
  • There are multiple mobile projects underway across Activision Blizzard.
  • Roughly 8% of staff were laid off.
  • Lots of great people are looking for work:

Bobby Kotick, Chief Executive Officer of Activision Blizzard said “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.”
This article was originally published in forum thread: Activision Blizzard Q4 2018 Earnings Call and Layoffs started by chaud View original post
Comments 230 Comments
  1. Aggrophobic's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Beet View Post
    You know he meant pre Activision. When they were under Vivendi things were different. There’s been many many employees who stated how Vivendi never pressured them on anything. Activision however remains a force hovering above. Especially after 2013 when Vivendi sold their majority shares to Activision and no longer had the power.

    It doesn’t even matter though now. The Blizzard of today isn’t the Blizzard of old any longer. A split from Activision wouldn’t matter now.

    I do wonder how things would look today if some of Vivendi had managed to get Kotick fired like they wanted to in 2013. Basically Kotick threatened to quit if he wasn’t backed by Activision to buy the majority stocks from Vivendi. At least according to an old polygon article I recently read.
    But thats not how it is. Activision does not own Blizzard, they are a joint venture so it's really Blizzard "hovering over" Blizzard. Besides, I don't think thats what he meant at all.
    In any case, could you link a statement from one or more of these "many employees" that said this?
  1. Beet's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Aggrophobic View Post
    But thats not how it is. Activision does not own Blizzard, they are a joint venture so it's really Blizzard "hovering over" Blizzard. Besides, I don't think thats what he meant at all.
    In any case, could you link a statement from one or more of these "many employees" that said this?
    They’re not exactly joint. There’s still a boss and that’s Kotick right now. Did you notice that when Morhaime left, his replacement didn’t get promoted to the same level he was? That puts Blizzard even lower on the totem pole. Kotick led a group that purchased over 600 million shares from Vivendi in 2013, 5 years after the “merge”. That put Vivendi no longer with a majority share, and thus no power any longer. It’s exactly why Kotick threatened to quit unless he was backed for this purchase. As for linking previous comments about Vivendi, I can’t. This is all from memory over watching the various docuvideos and making ofs where Blizzard talked about Vivendi being so great to work with. Although if you have the WoW diary book, John Staat comments about them too.

    And this is all with me not giving any thought to the various things said recently by long time ex employees like Brevik who has stated how god awful Activision Blizzard has been towards the Blizzard employees.
  1. MoanaLisa's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Beet View Post
    I do wonder how things would look today if some of Vivendi had managed to get Kotick fired like they wanted to in 2013. Basically Kotick threatened to quit if he wasn’t backed by Activision to buy the majority stocks from Vivendi. At least according to an old polygon article I recently read.
    Vivendi was seeking a special dividend of about two to three billion dollars to pay down its own debts, all of that to come out of Activision and Blizzard. So do the math. Vivendi raids Activision/Blizzard of cash reserves and what do you imagine happens to Blizzard? At the time Kotick was seen as saving both companies. Vivendi had plans after getting all of Activision/Blizzard's cash (and leaving them in debt) to simply sell them off to someone else.

    People forget.

    https://www.gamesindustry.biz/articl...lizzard-report

    EDIT: I do understand how this story runs 180 degrees against the narrative that Bobby Kotick is Satan's evil spawn that is hell-bent on destroying video gaming. Nonetheless this happened. Was reported in the financial press.
  1. Maudib's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by schwarzkopf View Post
    "Layoffs at Blizzard are limited to non-development teams,"

    Well that means no resourcing impact on WoW, and the fact they are putting their focus back into internally owned (rather than franchised) IP is all good news for WoW.
    No... it means the same old tires, unimaginative, and stubborn development team will continue to destroy the franchise of WoW. I'm waiting for "the other shoe to drop"... hopefully they get smart and can the current dev ledership (Ion and friends) and replace them with some quality developers who still have passion for WoW.

    I.E., bring some fo the original team back, to help rebuild a new dev team. These current jokers are clueless.
  1. Saeran's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Dawon View Post
    No you dont if you make statements like that. Business = trying to maximize profit. It's not a freaking charity! I feel sorry for the people involved but all stupid comments like "oh they earn enough" or "ceo can share his money", dont know shit how businesses work. I wont even try to explain to you people that only wanna go communism on the world, it simply does not work that way and never will.
    You seem to get the impression that simply because I think that capitalism has faults, that I am a communist lol. I thoroughly understand how "capitalism" works and how businesses aim to maximise profits, BUT when a company posts its highest EVER revenues and STILL lays off 8% of its workforce compulsorily, then to me then that is morally wrong. There is nothing wrong with wanting to reduce your workforce to reduce costs, but to me it should have been in this case on a voluntary basis with relocation if possible.

    To me this is also a indictment of US labour laws too, as in the EU, with all its faults, it is harder to hire and fire people with more than two years service.
  1. Whitedragon's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by TheOne01 View Post
    I for one welcome this new age. Every last AAA studio cant go bankrupt fast enough so a new era can rise that is forced to return to players first. They wont have a choice if "players last" bankrupts the industry.
    You can only have that as long as you are a privately owned company (And even then it can still happen), as soon as any of them go public you will always run into this... trying to pretend that wiping the bored clean is going to stop this from happening is crazzy...
  1. Deventh's Avatar
    We had one of the best years yet, so let's fire 1/4 of our employees.
  1. Frank the Tank's Avatar
    Firing up Chrono Trigger on my super nintendo so I can remember the days when video game companies weren't this level of greedy.
  1. Honeyprime's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Deventh View Post
    We had one of the best years yet, so let's fire 1/4 of our employees.
    That's the first thing I thought in my sarcastic little mind.

    I just will never understand a company that brags about having it's best year ever (this isn't the first company I've read about doing this) and then laying off employees.
  1. Shaede's Avatar
    Well, this company has finally made me sick. They could get all the money in the world and still look for more ways to nickel and dime everyone.

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