Activision Blizzard announces layoffs as it looks to move away from live events
Activision Blizzard has laid off dozens of people, including 50 employees involved with its live events and esports divisions, reports Bloomberg.
According to the report, Activision's move will impact less than 2% of the total workforce or less than 190 employees. It also affects employees at Activision-owned mobile firm King, which is known for games like Candy Crush. The report further said that the layoffs were part of the company's efforts to restructure its offerings, especially live events, which had been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Players are increasingly choosing to connect with our games digitally and the e-sports team, much like traditional sports, entertainment, and broadcasting industries, has had to adapt its business due to the impact the pandemic has had on live events,” an Activision Blizzard spokesperson said in a statement.
Employees will receive three months' severance and health benefits for the next 12 months. The company is also giving a $200 gift card to the company's Battle.net PC platform. Activision has also promised “job transition support” to the employees.
According to The Verge, Activision Blizzard runs two major esports leagues for its game franchises, such as Overwatch and Call of Duty. The company had big plans to expand the esports leagues before the Covid-19 pandemic forced a transition to online gaming.
Even as Activision's e-sports programmes may have taken a hit, its core business has remained unaffected by the pandemic. Last month, the gaming company reported $2.25 billion in operating cash flow for the year ended December 31, 2020, as compared with $1.83 billion for 2019. In the fourth quarter, its operating cash flow stood at $1.14 billion as compared with $918 million for the fourth quarter of 2019.
“In a year filled with adversity our extraordinary employees were determined to provide connection and joy to our 400 million players around the world,” Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard had said. “They accomplished this as well as generating record financial results for our shareholders. Under difficult circumstances, but with the same conviction and focus, they will continue to do so in 2021.”