Blizzard announces layoffs of 600 employees

Even one of the biggest game developers in the world is not immune to financial issues. On Wednesday, Blizzard Entertainment announced it plans to lay off 600 of its employees worldwide. While Blizzard did not say how many employees it currently has, Gamasutra reports that in 2009 Blizzard had 4,600 team members, with possibly 1,000 more added in 2010.

Blizzard said that 90 percent of its team members affected by this staff reduction were not involved in game development. It added that the team behind its hit MMO World of Warcraft was not affected at all by this decision.

In a message board post on the World of Warcraft forums, its president Mike Morhaime said:

After evaluating our current organizational needs, we determined that while some areas of our business had been operating at the right levels and could benefit from further growth, other areas had become overstaffed. As a result, we need to scale down some of our departments and part with some of our colleagues and friends here at Blizzard.

He added that the employees that were let go will be receiving a severance package as well as other benefits.

None of Blizzard's games that are under development will be cancelled by these moves, according to Morhaime. He added that Blizzard is committed to releasing "multiple" games in 2012. One of them is the long awaited action-RPG sequel Diablo III which currently has a target launch date of sometime in the second quarter of 2012. Morhaime said, "We'll have exciting news to share in the coming weeks regarding Diablo III's release date ...".

Other games such as the expansion packs StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm and World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria are also in development at Blizzard. Morhaime's message also mentioned Blizzard DOTA which has apparently evolved from a StarCraft II mod to something more. Blizzard also has other unannounced games in the works, including its long awaited next generation MMO game.

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Really irresponsible to give all those jobs then take them away. Just my opinion. I know it's wishful thinking.

axebox said,
Really irresponsible to give all those jobs then take them away. Just my opinion. I know it's wishful thinking.

Unfortunately, that's how it goes sometimes. I know someone who quit his old job to take a new position, only to be terminated 2 weeks later because of the economy back in 2008.

axebox said,
Really irresponsible to give all those jobs then take them away. Just my opinion. I know it's wishful thinking.

It would also be just as irresponsible to not to evaluate business practices, costs, budgets and operations and make adjustments as necessary. Businesses do this all the time, this is no different than any other company out there.

As far as I am concerned they could lay off every one involved with World Of Warcraft! Or put some of that team to work on Diablo 3 and StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm. Enough World Of Warcraft already!

bryonhowley said,
As far as I am concerned they could lay off every one involved with World Of Warcraft! Or put some of that team to work on Diablo 3 and StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm. Enough World Of Warcraft already!

The WoW heam is hard working on kung fu panda expansion.

Yeah, why not lay off everyone from the game I don't like.

Oh wait, that means Diablo 3 goes right out of the door because it's going to blow and suck at the same time. It'll most likely be the biggest flop of our times, even their community manager has had to cool down the raging fanboys because they know it'll land face down.

MiukuMac said,
Yeah, why not lay off everyone from the game I don't like.

Oh wait, that means Diablo 3 goes right out of the door because it's going to blow and suck at the same time. It'll most likely be the biggest flop of our times, even their community manager has had to cool down the raging fanboys because they know it'll land face down.


If you look at SC and compare it with WoL, frankly, there's nothing more to add to the game play, you can agree with me that it being "modernised".
I guess the same will be for D3. It won't be a flop, but it won't be an omfglolamazing revolution.

World of Warcraft is stale and losing subscribers. Whatever their rumored new MMO is, they need to make sure it's good. They dumbed down WoW too much. It caters to the masses, which I guess makes good business sense, but it just doesn't have the feel it used to have.

Shiranui said,
Blizzard: leaving people out in the cold....

A severance package is hardly "out in the cold". How often do you keep working for your employer after you quit working for them?

Vlad said,

A severance package is hardly "out in the cold". How often do you keep working for your employer after you quit working for them?

Since we don't know the terms of that "severance" we can't ASSUME it's enough to allow people to eat or be "comfortable". Even if it is a "good deal" there is no security in being unemployed, have you ever been laid off? If no, then have NO idea what you are talking about.

Besides which a severance is a way to avoid being sued, it doesn't mean it's going to be enough to sustain their livelihood.. So it can STILL be construed as "out in the cold" for most people...

wow. greed ******. i know they have **** load of money from WoW and still want to lay off people. f*** activision...

And here you make the same mistake as everyone else - you blame the wrong party.

This isn't Activision. It's 100% Blizzard.

I'm sure the Blizzard guys are laughing it up how they can get scott free from everything they do because people will point the finger at the other party, whilst not realizing they're a seperate operating unit that is governed by themselves.

I heard rumors saying that most of these were WoW support staff, and that their systems have now been more automated than before, so actual human resources for those weren't as necessary.

Oh and of course falling WoW subscription rates may play a role too, but there haven't been devastating results lately, just slight drops. (10% down from March 2011 to November 2011) So I think the main reason is something else, unless the drops have accelerated the most recent months and become alarming.

Um... tell me how does a company with AT LEAST 15 million subscriber base paying 15 bucks a month NOT afford to keep an additional 600 people employeed? This is why companies need to open their books to the public, I don't BELIEVE what they are saying..

Not only irresponsible, but it sure sounds like pure GREED to me or some executive idea of being a complete dictator (like Steve Jobs) .. yeah I said it, what?!?

You can't tell me Blizzard cannot "afford" to pay these people.. they don't WANT to pay them so they can pay more bonus to executives.. it's Typical American Capitalism.. nothing new to see here.

rijp said,
Um... tell me how does a company with AT LEAST 15 million subscriber base paying 15 bucks a month NOT afford to keep an additional 600 people employeed? This is why companies need to open their books to the public, I don't BELIEVE what they are saying..

Not only irresponsible, but it sure sounds like pure GREED to me or some executive idea of being a complete dictator (like Steve Jobs) .. yeah I said it, what?!?

You can't tell me Blizzard cannot "afford" to pay these people.. they don't WANT to pay them so they can pay more bonus to executives.. it's Typical American Capitalism.. nothing new to see here.

Not to nitpick, but they have closer to 10 million. They've been losing subscribers left and right, including in the quarter they said subscriptions normally go up!

rijp said,
Um... tell me how does a company with AT LEAST 15 million subscriber base paying 15 bucks a month NOT afford to keep an additional 600 people employeed? This is why companies need to open their books to the public, I don't BELIEVE what they are saying..

Not only irresponsible, but it sure sounds like pure GREED to me or some executive idea of being a complete dictator (like Steve Jobs) .. yeah I said it, what?!?

You can't tell me Blizzard cannot "afford" to pay these people.. they don't WANT to pay them so they can pay more bonus to executives.. it's Typical American Capitalism.. nothing new to see here.

Just because they can afford paying salary for 600 people means they should. They have other costs that are just plain salary. As a company, you aren't going to "throw" away money on resources that aren't generating AT least the cost that is costing you (pun intended).

It's not being greedy, it's called a business. Look around business that are more than your store at the corner.

Guess SW:TOR and GW2 are still showing their effects upon the Big B, past that lame Annual Pass fiasco. What's next?

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