Blizzard laying off 600

Diablo III studio cuts 60 developers as well as substantial support staff as part of global reduction of staff due to "changing needs" of company.

There's sour news out of Irvine this morning, as Activision Blizzard subsidiary Blizzard Entertainment announced that it will reduce its global workforce by 600 employees. The company noted that 10 percent of its staff cuts--or about 60 people--were actively involved in game development.

Is Diablo III done?

Blizzard was quick to point out that the World of Warcraft development team will not be impacted by the staff reductions. The company's massively popular massively multiplayer online role-playing game has struggled in the past year, slipping to 10.2 million subscribers through the end of December.

"Constant evaluation of teams and processes is necessary for the long-term health of any business," said Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime. "Over the last several years, we've grown our organization tremendously and made large investments in our infrastructure in order to better serve our global community. However, as Blizzard and the industry have evolved we've also had to make some difficult decisions in order to address the changing needs of our company."

Blizzard went on to note that its development and publishing schedule has not been impacted by the staff cuts. Currently, the company expects to announce a release date for Diablo III in the near future, indicating that development on the game is nearing completion. The company is also at work on the WOW expansion Mists of Pandaria, Blizzard DOTA, and Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm.

At last month's DICE Summit, Blizzard EVP of product development Frank Pearce indicated that the company's global workforce stood at 4,700 employees. Blizzard had not responded to a request for comment on the company's current workforce size or whether today's move was related to Diablo III's development schedule as of press time.

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265 comments
MajorGamer531
MajorGamer531

Majority of that is likely to be QA guys. One of the first areas you cut back on in business is testing.

dRuGGeRnaUt
dRuGGeRnaUt

Who wants to bet jack black will do voicework on "mists of kung-fu panda", I could see it happening. I've (for some reason) been wanting to start playing wow again to see whats changed, but this new expansion coming out doesnt interest me in the least. Pandas blizzard? PANDAS? will all the cool and deep lore surrounding warcraft, they could've done better. From Deathwing to martial arts pandas.. :(

CoRiNi
CoRiNi

Epic fail, I thought Activision earned them billions, I guess Kotick had his impact on Blizzard.

dRuGGeRnaUt
dRuGGeRnaUt

EA lays off 100 people: "this is why i hate EA, any company that does this should burn. LETS BOYCOTT EA" - Blizzard lays off 600 people: "they must have their reasons" - Yeah, they have 'reasons', same 'reasons' they charge their FANS that made them who they are $40-$50 to watch a web feed of blizcon. I love watching blizzhards defend that. "well see, they need to charge that cause they need so many servers to stream the content" - Same people that pay $150 to go to an advertising festival. No matter how cool blizz is(or was) doesn't justify any of these things. Like the prices for server changes/name changes/race changes in wow, its absurd.

Gravity_Slave
Gravity_Slave

Its funny how the Blizzard fanatics will stand up for their company no matter what, just because they love their games. I can see it now.... "Blizzard pillages and plunders retirement home after an arson spree at Yellow Stone while holding a class of 2nd graders on a field trip hostage." Blizzard Fans: "oh, I'm sure Blizzard had their reasons..." "...it's a bad economy after all.."

Blitzkrieg129
Blitzkrieg129

@anthonycg Right, and I only explored one of the possible reasons...because, like you said, there are plenty of reasons why Blizzard could have done this. But Blizzard would not have gotten rid of 600 employees if they didn't need them.

anthonycg
anthonycg

@Blitzkrieg129 There are plenty of reasons to lay people off and most of them have nothing to do with the work of the employees.

sortajan
sortajan

@cryingdevil63 it won't bloody help the 600 odd people who've just lost their jobs though, will it?

strayfies
strayfies

Well it had to happen sometime. A lot of wow kiddies thought it'd be with a bang (for some reason naming "The WoW killer" for years was a trend), but something this big in their industry never goes with a bang. Just a fizzle. I'm glad Cataclysm came back to bite them, for a short time after its launch I thought it was just me who saw it as two steps backward. Apparently it's not a rare opinion at all. So long Blizz, enjoyed the time while it was there.

cryingdevil63
cryingdevil63

HOPEFULLY this will benefit the company somehow and therefore the games they make.....In the long run at least.I don't want to go in and speculate as to why they did this. That is all.

Seiki_sands
Seiki_sands

60 developers in active game development...Blizzard couldn't AFFORD to have them start working on the first Diablo III expansion so it doesn't take another 10 years? Or put them to work on a new IP, since other than WoW, which is part of the Warcraft universe, they haven't developed a new IP since the 90's? Nope, they're a business and have a bottom line to worry about. So they'll hire new teams for those projects, new teams that haven't earned the benefits and salaries of employees that have been there for awhile. Wouldn't wanna give those hideous employees an awful pay raise that they've earned by contributing to your success (ie, your 1 Billion in profit last year) now would we?

Blitzkrieg129
Blitzkrieg129

Laying off 600 employees always looks bad, but I'm sure Blizzard had their reasons. A company doesn't lay people off if they can use them - but the fact that Blizzard mentions that none of its developing and publishing schedule has been impacted just goes to show that they REALLY did not need those employees. Blizzard is a business, businesses want to make money, and if they made the mistake of over-hiring for all of their projects they are working on, then they're going to fix their mistake. It's sad to see so many people lose their job, but Blizzard's still a business.

ducusss
ducusss

@chronocommander Not a typo, its 600

iPostMaReviews
iPostMaReviews

In other words : we can still make CoD every year with 600 less devs because, you know, we're busy INNOVATING !!!!!!!

terminus
terminus

Blizzard along with Activision are as bad as Walmart.......I'd like to see Kotick take a !@#$%^ pay cut, I'm sure if you reduced his salary by 1%, 60 people would still have jobs.

chronocommander
chronocommander

600? While the news is common post-development staff cuts, multiplying by 10 is a bit excessive as a point-making typo don't you think?

lindigj
lindigj

You guys are too soft. When a company has extreme success, it goes without saying that they will have to hire a lot of staff to support the success. It also goes without saying that if they ever reach a point where they have excess support staff, they will eventually cut the fat. It's the way of the world. You don't cry when they cut down and consolidate servers when people stop playing WoW. It's basically the same thing. What do you want them to do, keep paying salaries for people to NOT have to do their job anymore because the job doesn't exist as it did before? Now, I feel for developers who might have got the axe too, but as far as the support guys go, layoffs kind of come with the territory -- you're more or less cattle in the herd, and those with poor numbers (i.e. amount of work done in a given hour) are the first to go. As far as perceived "job security" goes, those of you who don't get it right now will come to understand sooner than later that job security isn't about how stable the company is that you work for, it's about YOUR importance to the company and how replaceable YOU are.

papele88
papele88

They earn lots of money by selling someone elses hard work and then fire them, thats how it works now and nobody is doing or can do anything abut it, I wonder what'll happen when (I hope not) ACTA comes out.

DreadfulGlory
DreadfulGlory

They are greedy a**holes that are the face behind corporate dictatorship.

helldew
helldew

@Dustyn-Barlow That is exactly what they are doing. they are cutting developers who deserve their hard earned money developers who spend all nighters on this stuff simply so they dont have to pay them. its sad to because diablo 3 is a big enough game to easily sustain them thus this is basically pure greed.

Dustyn-Barlow
Dustyn-Barlow

Ok i heard from a friend that Activision fired most of the staff that worked on Black Ops right before it relesed to save money on paying out bonuses, if im wrong please let me know. But if it is true then Activision is probably doing the same thing with the Diablo 3 staff.

maxwell97
maxwell97

@Sepewrath: It's true that laying people off can be a short-sighted way to cut costs, and can end up hurting a company. That doesn't mean that ALL layoffs have that impact. If you have too many people for the work, or the people you have don't have the right skills for the work they currently have to do, then a layoff can make sense.

Reaiko
Reaiko

How can it have nothing to do with World of Warcraft, when their realms are slowly going down and dying..

Nic345
Nic345

Layoff are always sucky news.

X-RS
X-RS

I can't say I've got enough job experience to back it.... But does it seem like job the employment methods/job security for deevelopers should be revised? Are they required to be employed for X amount of time in contracts?

Sepewrath
Sepewrath

@dre256x If only cutting staff actually meant that we won't get charged more for games. Whether directly by an increase in pricing standards or indirectly with continued DLC abuse and a focus on microtransactions. At the end of the day, cutting staff wont change that from being our future. It just means they make more money.

dre256x
dre256x

@Sepewrath Yes, that's true they aren't there doing the work, but the investor put money in a company hoping to get back returns on there investment.. The whole mistake happen when Blizz merged, Blizz didn't really need Activision, Activision need them to help boost there bottom line and appease investor.. Blizz could have survive by themselves, but they would have to hire more to deal with the headaches of globally releasing a game on a massive scale.. Remember if Activision is going under the merger can break-up, similar to the once Chrysler and Benz did... All this cutting of staff is to help Activision keep posting profits later this year and more into the future. Also take into note next Gen development cost is gonna go up, and if you keep the same number of staff how are you gonna post profits without raising the cost of a game, simple you cut staff. If they don't can u imagine paying between 65-75 dollars for a game..

Sepewrath
Sepewrath

@maxwell97 And a business is only as good as the people who work there. Those investors aren't the ones doing the daily work to keep the business running. If you cut jobs and dump more work on those left, just to save a buck, it'll do more harm than good in the long run. People work better when they aren't overworked and constantly concerned that their job is on the bubble for the sake of being more "economical". Its not about handouts, your business isn't worth s**t without your workforce standing firmly behind you.

toddx77
toddx77

@maxwell97 I know what you mean and I was comparing it to what nintendo did where the board members all took a pay cut so everyone else could keep their jobs.

Suaron_x
Suaron_x

My guess is they canned the Diablo III development team (mostly play testers) and that many of these people will be hired back when they start work on the Diablo expansion pack (which will hit the markets in 2015/2016. This type of thing is common in the gaming industry, but after posting $1B in profits (or so) from last quarter it kinda grabs headlines. I don't understand how Blizzard employs what 5,000 people and still takes 3-5 years getting a game to market. What was so complicated about programming Diablo 3 that took them 4 years (and it's still not out)? Torchlight 2 will be out in what a year and half with 3 programmers (who they once fired). An expansion to Starcraft is what, 2 years and growing. The SC expansion uses all the same tools/engine they previously developed, which hardly warrants that kind of time.

malfreds
malfreds

Well, it seems that Blizzard had 600 extra persons. I mean, they didn't make good investigation about how many employees they needed. However, I'm pretty sure that these 600 guys will have multiple open doors, after working Blizzard.

XCore93
XCore93

throw 600 employers away? darn man thats an insult

ccgod
ccgod

@moose3469 pretty sure making $152,490,000 a month in sub fees is more then enough to finance there work force :/ not to mention all the other games they make $ off of..

ccgod
ccgod

@WithoutGraceXII they care more about saving $$

King9999
King9999

"Blizzard was quick to point out that the World of Warcraft development team will not be impacted by the staff reductions" Well, that's reassuring. Maybe those 60 people who were let go will end up on the Guild Wars 2 dev team to solve that problem.

WithoutGraceXII
WithoutGraceXII

That really sucks for those people. Working for a company as successful as Blizzard, you'd think they'd have more job security.

glbbg
glbbg

I'm very displeased how some companies deal with their staff like they are used tissue - once you are done with them, throw them in the gutter. A real shame, because it's not 6 or 60, but 600 people who lost their job. Like they say in "Jerry Maguire": "Show me the money".

cyberslammer
cyberslammer

Panda Bears in an MMO Epic FAIL. Oh but they still have dancing elves on mailboxes so that makes it okay.

gregrout
gregrout

"Pandarens came first..... " I think the point is the expansion doesn't look that good. Wrath of the Lich King looked amazing, it had a story and a tonne of lore that players could get behind, Pandarens... not so much. While there's a fair amount of lore behind Deathwing, Cataclysm still felt incomplete, throw in Blizzard's hand holding on this expansion, and it was a brutally linear romp that didn't last neverly as long. With Pandarens almost utterly out of main stream lore, it's got "jump the shark" written all over it. What's the next expansion after that one, the hidden cow level?!

da_chub
da_chub

@moose3469 peoples lives were ruined because of WoW. and all i know is i cant wait for diablo 3 to come out. im saving for a new pc right now.

Drakenu
Drakenu

Haha damn and here I was thinking I could get a chance to play diablo 3 before I got a full time job.. Well lesson learned..

barleybosh
barleybosh

@moistsandwich Everytime someone denies Kung Fu Panda as inspiration for releasing Mists, I want to shoot them in the chest with a high caliber pistol and take naked pictures of their mom and post it on the internet because CLEARLY that movie produces interest in Panda Bears who do Kung Fu, leading up to similarly themed games or expansions.

GreyViper
GreyViper

Thats just so sad, they finished year long project and are cast of like used tissue. Since lets be honest no way has Activision Blizzard money issues. Sad news for the people who lost their job.

Cwagmire21
Cwagmire21

@Wolf3037 Someone's on their high horse yet doesn't know the difference between firing someone and laying someone off. :roll:

ACMC85
ACMC85

@moistsandwich true. I don't see how Bobby kotick can make so much money for having no idea how to make a game except by threatening employees like this can get massive bonuses, but the people who work on games and market them get the ax.