Photo by: Blizzard
Activision Blizzard are heading for massive job cuts to be announced this Tuesday, Feb. 12. According to a report from Bloomberg, the layoffs “could number in the hundreds” and are “part of a restructuring aimed at centralizing functions and boosting profit.” The layoffs came in the wake of poor performance from several Activision Blizzard titles like Hearthstone and Overwatch, whose numbers have declined or plateaued, respectively.
Should Bloomberg report prove true, this will be another hit to game giant, which has already been generating negative press with multiple senior executive departures. In October 2018, Blizzard co-founder and long-time CEO Mike Morhaime stepped down and is expected to depart the company for good this April. In January, a trio of senior executives also left the company, including Activision Publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg, Blizzard CFO Amirta Ahuja and Activision Blizzard CFO Spencer Neumann. The same month, Activision also split with Bungie, who left behind their partnership with the tech giant and took their shared-world franchise Destiny with them.
As a result, Activision Blizzard’s stock price has plummeted with near 50% in the last six months. At the start of October, one ATVI share was valued at $83.28; today, the price is down to below $44. Bloomberg also estimates that Activision’s sales will decline “by about 2% to 7.28B” in 2019.
This restructuring leaves several important questions opens, including how much autonomy will Activision Blizzard’s different daughter companies — and especially Blizzard Entertainment — will retain. Blizzard’s moves towards the end of 2018, including the cancellation of Heroes of the Storm’s HGC, have left fans doubting whether Activision are having more influence on the company than ideal. With Overwatch and Hearthstone — two of Blizzard’s most active titles — laying flat or on the decline, there’s even more reason for concern.
Activision has worries of its own, with battle royale game Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 on the decline, losing the market race to Fortnite and now Apex Legends.