Layoffs at Activision After Guitar Hero, Skylanders Underperform

"We are refocusing to better align with Activision's long-term priorities."


Following the news last week that Guitar Hero Live and Skylanders SuperChargers underperformed, Activision has now confirmed that it's implemented a round of layoffs. It is not immediately clear which office or offices were impacted, but Game Informer reports that Activision's Minneapolis studio was hit.

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"As announced on our earnings call, our games for core audiences did extremely well, but the casual audience has not yet emerged on next-gen consoles," an Activision spokesperson told Game Informer. "So we are refocusing to better align with Activision's long-term priorities because, as always, our strategy evolves to keep us ahead of a rapidly changing industry.

"We are working with those impacted by the changes to offer outplacement services and support."

Guitar Hero Live and Skylander SuperChargers "performed weaker than expected," Activision said as part of its latest earnings report. The publisher said the downturn for SuperChargers was largely the result of "greater competition" in the toys-to-life genre, presumably referencing Disney Infinity, Lego Dimensions, and Nintendo's Amiibo. Activision also said SuperChargers and Guitar Hero Live struggled as a result of "the casual audience's shift to mobile devices."

As Game Informer points out, Activision Blizzard is making moves of late. Some of its new areas of focus include the mobile space with the acquisition of Candy Crush developer King, while the company also recently announced plans for movies and TV shows. Additionally, Activision Blizzard has acquired Major League Gaming, furthering its push into the competitive gaming market by creating the "ESPN of Esports."

During the earnings call, Activision also said it does not plan to ship a new Guitar Hero game for the newest generation of consoles. Instead, like Harmonix is doing with Rock Band 4, Activision will continually launch new content for Guitar Hero Live through updates. A new Skylanders game is coming this year, but though no other details on the game were made available when it was announced last week.

In other Activision console gaming news, Modern Warfare creator Infinity Ward will launch a new "innovative" Call of Duty game this year. Additionally, Destiny is getting a "large" expansion this year, with a sequel coming in 2017.

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