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Microsoft reportedly hits Activision Blizzard's esport division with mass layoffs

The Microsoft and Activision Blizzard logos

Last week, Microsoft announced it would lay off 1,900 team members from its gaming division. This week, as part of those job cuts, new reports claim that a large number, perhaps a majority of team members, in Activision Blizzard's esports division lost their positions. There's no word on just how many team members were laid off.

VentureBeat reports, via an unnamed source, that the cutbacks in the Activision Blizzard esports division do not mean that the company will no longer be participating in pro gaming leagues. It added:

The source said that with a continued commitment to competitive esports, the company has landed on a model that more closely aligns with our game franchises.

The report did not offer any specifics on this new esports business model for Activision Blizzard. PC Gamer added that Overwatch and Call of Duty League's "observer" teams, who handed many technical aspects of the publisher's esports broadcasting, were also victims of this latest round of job cuts.

The cuts came just a week after Blizzard announced a new reorganization of its Overwatch esports tournaments. The new Overwatch Champions Series (OWCS) is scheduled to begin its first season in late February. There's no word on how these new layoffs will affect the OWCS going forward.

Microsoft's gaming division layoffs last week will ultimately affect 9 percent of that division's workforce. Microsoft also canceled Blizzard's unnamed survival game, and it also experienced the departure of Mike Ybarra as Blizzard's President.

This week, Microsoft named Johanna Faries to be Blizzard's new President. She previously worked for several years in Activision's Call of Duty division. Ironically, Faries started working at Activision as the Commissioner for the Call of Duty esports section, and then as the senior vice president for its Call of Duty Leagues before being names as General Manager for the entire Call of Duty game franchise.

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