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Blizzard's Layoffs Aren't Done As Company Preps For Next Round, Per New Report [Updated]

Joseph Bradford Updated: Posted:
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In the wake of layoffs which saw Blizzard let go 190 workers last week, 50 of which were part of the live event team, a new report now indicates that the layoffs aren't finished. Blizzard is looking to consolidate its publishing teams in Europe to one location in the UK, per a report by GamesIndustry.biz.

As we reported last week, Blizzard let go 50 employees in the live events area of the company, though reports by Bloomberg's Jason Schreier say that the layoffs themselves could have been as high as 190 people affected. Severance compensation reportedly included 90 days of pay and health benefits for a year, as well as help finding new gigs within the industry. Blizzard also reportedly gave these employees $200 Battle.net gift cards.

Based on a new report by GamesIndustry.biz, included in the news of the previously reported layoffs are changes being made to many of Activision Blizzard's operations in Europe. Blizzard is seemingly looking at closing down many of their European publishing houses, with the end goal of setting up the European publishing operations in a hub located in the UK.  This means we could see offices in Germany, Spain, the Netherlands, France and even within the UK itself shuttered. 

The changes are reported to only affect the publishing aspects of Activision Blizzard's European operations, and as a result will not affect live operations or consumer-facing staff. Additionally, King's offices in the UK, Sweden, Germany and Spain are unaffected.

This is all with the backdrop of CEO Bobby Kotick receiving a multimillion payout based on his 2016 contract. The shareholder value creation incentive, or SVCI, was part of Kotick's contract back in 2016, and has kicked in thanks to the rise in Activision Blizzard's stock price versus where it was when his contract was made. As such, there is no correlation between the changes and Kotick's compensation other than timing.

This was recently condemned by an investment company CtW which sees itself as a watchdog for "irresponsible and unethical corporate behavior" and routinely calls out corporate CEO pay.

In 2019, Blizzard laid off around 800 people in early 2019, and in 2020 the game publishing giant also closed down one of its offices in France and the Netherlands.

[Update: 3:24 pm PT 3/23/2021 -  Previously we referred to the SVCI as a bonus rather than part of the 2016 contract and threfore part of the incentive package built into Kotick's compensation, which has been publicly available since 2016. We apologize fo this error. Additionally, we provided additional information and context behind the closures and reorganization.]


Joseph Bradford

Joseph has been writing or podcasting about games in some form since about 2012. Having written for multiple major outlets such as IGN, Playboy, and more, Joseph started writing for MMORPG in 2015. When he's not writing or talking about games, you can typically find him hanging out with his 10-year old or playing Magic: The Gathering with his family. Also, don't get him started on why Balrogs *don't* have wings. You can find him on Twitter @LotrLore