Activision Blizzard cuts nearly 800 jobs amid record earnings

On a fourth-quarter earnings call on February 12, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick announced that the company had achieved “record results” in 2018, but that it would nonetheless be laying off 8% of its staff, totaling nearly 800 employees.

According to J. Allen Brack, who became Blizzard’s president last year, the cuts will focus on “non-development positions,” such as customer service, public relations, and community management. Layoffs are reportedly affecting people who work at Activision and Blizzard’s offices, as well as other studios owned by the publisher.

A press release from Activision-Blizzard said that the company would use the money they saved by “reducing certain non-development and administrative-related costs,” to expand the development teams of its most popular franchises, such as Call of Duty, Candy Crush, and Diablo. Chief Operating Officer Coddy Johnson said that the company’s new priority is “increasing the flow and the frequency of compelling in-game content and upfront releases.”

In the short time since the announcement, many now-former Activision-Blizzard staffers have taken to Twitter to vent their frustrations and look for other work. They have generally been met with an outpouring of support from others in the game industry, with many sharing available jobs at other studios with the hashtag #gamejobs.

The layoffs followed the most financially successful year in the publisher’s history. Activision’s revenue for 2018 was $7.5 billion dollars, up from $7.02 billion in 2017. In the fourth quarter alone, the company had $2.84 billion in bookings, which, despite being a record high, fell short of analyst expectations of $3.04 billion.

Just last month, Activision-Blizzard had a shakeup at the executive level, after chief financial officer Spencer Neumann took a job at Netflix. He was replaced by Dennis Durkin, who received more than $15 million in bonuses in addition to his $900,000 salary.

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