As a means to refocus from live to online events, Activision Blizzard will lay off two percent of its total workforce. It will include about 50 of its employees plus other Esports personnel such as event organizers and programmers. That doesn’t mean that they’re moving away from live events completely, but Tony Petitti, Activision Blizzard Sports and Entertainment president, said that last year’s league structure for online play was an interesting one, and they’re looking forward to achieving the best practices from that.
As A Way To Cut Costs
Looking back, the Call of Duty and Overwatch Leagues were envisioned to operate similarly to conventional sports leagues with a heavy focus on teams competing in front of live audiences. But the virus outbreak forced things to “go online” which is way more cost-effective, and it sounds like the company might stick to it even after the pandemic ends.
Changing With The Times
He added that it’s a reality that they need to adapt to best serve the league, owners, teams, and fans.
As previously said, Activision Blizzard won’t completely drop live events, noting its discussions about structural changes and ways to cut costs to the league before Petitti’s arrival in August 2020. Moreover, the company said something in a separate statement confirming the layoffs.
Meanwhile, an Activision Blizzard representative said that since players are starting to connect with their games, they are exploring new ways to continue providing their playerbase with the best service. The world of Esports, much like the conventional sports, broadcasting, and entertainment industries, had to adapt to the current situation. It might be a tough decision, but he added that they’re taking extensive steps to ease the transition of the affected ones.
Employees who were laid off will receive a “job transition support” of 90-day severance pay, some health benefits, and a $200 Battle.net gift card.
While Activision Blizzard’s Esports business may have suffered during the COVID-19 pandemic, its core businesses are still doing remarkably well. According to its latest quarterly report, its revenue exceeded Wall Street’s expectations, thanks to the successes of both Call of Duty and Warzone games.
As for the live events, they will still make up a part of Call of Duty and Overwatch League strategies and would get back to them as soon as it’s logically feasible to do so.
Activision Blizzard Was Just One Of Many
Activision Blizzard wasn’t the first one to go on with this approach. Last year, Vancouver Titans released its entire roster, saying that the reason for its wholesale cut wasn’t about performance, but the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on players who were far from home. And recently, the Overwatch League’s LA Valiant made a similar move by dropping its players in move to China.
Bloomberg reports that there were layoffs in other Activision Blizzard departments too, such as the subsidiary King.com – maker of Candy Crush. According to that source, the total number of jobs put it somewhere below 190.
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