Activision Blizzard, the Santa Monica publisher responsible for huge AAA titles such as Call of Duty and Spyro as well as Blizzard Entertainment games Diablo and Overwatch, are reportedly facing concerns of mass layoffs this next coming week.
No word has been officially shared from the publisher, but rumours of this were wandering around as recent as late last year . These potential layoffs especially should rightly so be of concern, with the numbers being in the hundreds. The layoffs, which are said to begin on Tuesday, aim to “restructure centralised functions and boost profit.”
How does a AAA publisher such as Activision Blizzard even reach a fallout this large?
On the surface, it can appear hard to notice these telltale signs of trouble. Call of Duty: Black Ops IV was a success for Activision in 2018, being one of the best selling games of the year. There is however more than meets the eye: last month Bungie, developer of Destiny chose to part ways with Activision due to disappointing sales figures from the Destiny 2: Forsaken expansion. It is clear that this not only hurt the developer but Activision themselves, with the move expecting to reduce their annual revenue by an amount as large as $400 million.
Events such as mass layoffs are becoming more and more common in the games industry, with the closure of other large companies last year such as Telltale Games. This can leave job security largely in question for game developers as more of these tumultuous events occur and can leave workers tired of this give or take mentality and instead push for unionisation, promising safety in their occupation. It’s a discussion that has been in the works for a number of years with it reaching more of a head in recent times and just may be an option for workers at this risk. It’s a sad reality and adapting to this could be a resolution.
Still, for now there is little that Activision’s workers that may be affected by this can do but wait for the coming week when whether or not these rumours are true will come to a head, of course. We wish all employees the very best and hope that these rumours are untrue, for their sake.