Blizzard Reportedly Lays Off 50 People To Pivot Away From Live In-Person Events

The affected Blizzard employees handled live events such as esports matches.

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Blizzard has reportedly cut 50 people from its workforce as the company shifts away from live events, a decision brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. [Update: Bloomberg reporter Jason Schreier said "dozens of people at the whole company" have been affected, not just those in live events. Schreier also noted that the affected employees will receive $200 Battle.net gift cards on top of the 90 severance and health benefits for one year.]

According to a Bloomberg report, the affected employees come from support departments largely responsible for live events, including esports matches. A company spokesperson said that Blizzard and its esports team has "had to adapt" to the world's new conditions.

"Players are increasingly choosing to connect with our games digitally and the e-sports team, much like traditional sports, entertainment, and broadcasting industries, has had to adapt its business due to the impact the pandemic has had on live events," the spokesperson said.

Those affected will get at least 90 days severance and health benefits for a year, Bloomberg reports. Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick, meanwhile, took home over $30 million in 2019. This has been disputed by critics, though Activision itself continues to defend Kotick's salary.

This news comes despite Activision Blizzard posting record revenue in the last year, including raking in some $1.2 billion from microtransactions and Call of Duty having its biggest year ever. Activision Blizzard even announced plans to hire over 2,000 employees this year.

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