Activision Blizzard Inc. has reported a new wave of layoffs affecting the eSports division. Approximately 190 employees have lost their jobs.
Among the cuts were employees at King.com, the maker of Candy Crush. Bloomberg reports that less than 2% of the total workforce is affected by the layoffs.
The severance package for the employees who were let go includes health benefits for one year and job transition support. While this is considered to be a generous severance package, the company also provided the employees with a $200 gift card to Battle.net, Blizzard’s online gaming service. The public has harshly criticized Activision Blizzard for firing employees in the middle of a pandemic and for giving them gift cards for an online gaming service owned by Activision Blizzard itself.
“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,”
Much like many other AAA companies in the gaming industry, Activision Blizzard has continued to profit throughout the coronavirus pandemic. Kotaku recently reported that the CEO of the company, Bobby Kotick is actually getting more bonuses because of the strong performance of Call of Duty in the market during the lockdown.
To add insult to injury, the company released its financial results for last year stating that:
“For the quarter ended December 31, 2020, Activision Blizzard’s net revenues presented in accordance with GAAP were $2.41 billion, as compared with $1.99 billion for the fourth quarter of 2019.”
Earlier in 2019 Activision Blizzard had already axed 8% of the workforce in hopes of “centralizing functions and boosting profit.” However, at the time during an investor call Bobby Kotick has said that 2018 had been “the best year” in Activision’s history.
It is always disheartening to see employees being laid off while the company is continuing to thrive through a global pandemic. We at Emmen Gaming hope that the creative teams behind these games who put in their time and effort are compensated well and not exploited by bad practices in this industry.