Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime Is Leaving A Very Lucrative Job

The outgoing president made more than $12 million last year.

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Blizzard, the gaming giant behind franchises like World of Warcraft and Diablo, has made some adjustments to the way its employees are paid. Activision Blizzard's 2018 Proxy Statement reveals that the company has eliminated a program called the Blizzard Holiday Plan, though it says it's simply rearranged when that money makes it into employees' hands in response to their feedback.

This story has been updated and corrected to remove references to Blizzard employees losing money as a result of the bonus program being eliminated.

The end-of-year bonus program appears to have been lucrative, at least for Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime, who just announced he's leaving the company. According to the proxy statement, Morhaime was eligible for a bonus of 37 percent of his base salary, which worked out to $369,219.

Blizzard tells GameSpot that last December, it did away with the holiday bonus in favor of incorporating that money into employees' base salary (which they had requested would be the case). In other words, rather than receiving a lump sum bonus at the end of the year, it's now divided up into their pay throughout the year.

The Blizzard Holiday Plan was in place before the Activision Blizzard merger. While the Blizzard Holiday Plan is no more, the company still has a program called the "Blizzard Profit Sharing Plan" that rewards employees with bonuses based on how profitable its games are.

Additionally, there is a profit-sharing plan specific to Morhaime himself, as the Activision Blizzard proxy statement mentions something called the "Morhaime Profit Sharing Plan." This bonus is based on Blizzard's overall earnings. As such, it is likely a substantial figure, but it offers no guarantees about how much or how little (if anything) he receives from it.

Including his salary and bonuses, Morhaime was paid $12.3 million in 2017. Activision Blizzard CEO Robert Kotick's total pay for last year $28.7 million, while CFO Spencer Neumann took home $9.5 million. Chief Corporate Officer Dennis Durkin made $5.8 million, while Activision Publishing boss Collister Johnson earned $11.2 million, with King CEO Riccardo Zacconi taking home $14.8 million.

Profit-sharing programs are commonplace in the video game industry, and they are one of the methods that developers use to attract and retain talent. Grand Theft Auto developer Rockstar Games has a scheme called "internal royalties" that pay employees bonuses based on the performance of their games; Electronic Arts has a bonus system as well.

The topic of employee benefits is especially front of mind currently as Telltale Games recently closed down and paid its employees no severance.

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