While video game media titan Activision Blizzard, Inc. is planning on laying off 8% of their massive workforce, a total 400 employees at one of the company’s offices are still unsure if they are being cut.
Back in 2007, Activision revealed that it would merge with Vivendi Games. As Vivendi Games is a holding company to Blizzard Entertainment, the company of Activision Blizzard, Inc. was quickly forged.
Well, during the recent fiscal fourth quarter results conference call, CEO Bobby Kotick revealed that the company would be laying off numerous employees following a demand to “reduce complexity and duplication.”
“We’re staffing up production on our incubation efforts faster, and increasing our investment in live services, in our tools, in our Battle.net platform, and in new areas like our fast growing esports and advertising efforts, but all with an intense focus on excellence, so we never disappoint our players.” Kotick said.
“Our pipeline is excellent and our development talent the very best in the world, but we need to refocus our efforts so that our development and production resources are better aligned with our priorities.” Kotick continued. “We’re reducing or eliminating investment in games and initiatives that weren’t living up to player expectations or our leadership teams have determined may not live up to player expectations in the future. To drive improved execution and to fund development investment, we will in certain parts of the business reduce complexity and duplication in our back office functions, consolidate certain commercial operations, and revamp our consumer marketing capabilities to reflect our continued migration to a largely digital network.”
Activision COO Coddy Johnson later added that “approximately eight percent” of the company’s 9,000 person staff would be laid off. The lay offs are expected to affect 720 employees across the company. This decision was made despite CFO Dennis Durkin’s recent $15 million reward for joining Activision Blizzard, as reported by Bloomberg.
A recent fiscal report from the company has also revealed that Activision Blizzard earned a record setting $7.50 billion in 2018. An excerpt from the report may be viewed below.
“For the year ended December 31, 2018, Activision Blizzard’s net revenues presented in accordance with GAAP were a record $7.50 billion, as compared with $7.02 billion for 2017. GAAP net revenues from digital channels were a record $5.79 billion. GAAP operating margin was 27%. GAAP earnings per diluted share were a record $2.35, as compared with $0.36 for 2017. On a non-GAAP basis, Activision Blizzard’s operating margin was 34% and earnings per diluted share were a record $2.72, as compared with $2.21 for 2017.”
As reported by Kotaku, Blizzard’s French office has since been informed that 134 of the total 400 positions will be eliminated as a result of the recent lay offs. However, the ambiguous statement does not clarify if 134 employees will be laid off or simply moved to other positions within the company.
“No one knows any details and this is taking a big hit on the morale of the folks over here,” an anonymous Versailles employee stated to Kotaku. “Not knowing if you will be laid off in a few weeks or months sucks and many people here are already updating their LinkedIn because they want to be prepared for when they will be told what will happen exactly.”
French labor laws make laying off employees without notice rather difficult. Consequently, many of the French office staff members have been left in disarray as they each wait to hear if they will be laid off from the massive company.
“It’s a two-edged sword,” Another anonymous employee informed Kotaku. “On one hand it is good to be able to prepare, but the way it was handled and that no specifics were given, no names or dates, makes it really awkward.”
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