Activision Blizzard recently enacted a new round of layoffs from its live operations division due to the ongoing pandemic that has caused live, in-person events to be canceled. CEO Bobby Kotick has now discussed these job cuts, saying the company tried to keep the talent on board as long as possible, but ultimately it didn’t happen.
“We have a natural attrition rate and then we have performance management where the people are being encouraged to find other opportunities. When you abandon a particular business, like our live broadcast of esports, we hoped over the last year that through the pandemic we would get to a place where we would be able to continue to move on the path to support live events in our esports initiatives,” he told GamesBeat. “We saw all the major sports started to change what they were doing in terms of production and production headcount. We kept the teams in place for as long as we could with the expectation that maybe things would change and we could get back to being able to do live events. But after a year we realized it was going to take more time to be in the live events business.”
Kotick added that the owners of individual esports teams likely wanted to produce their own live esports programming anyway. But regardless, the impact was that Activision Blizzard eliminated around 50 jobs. “Unfortunately, the consequence of that was there were a number of people in live production [who] lost their jobs,” Kotick said.
A previous round of layoffs at Activision Blizzard impacted around 800 people in non-development and administrative positions. Looking ahead, Kotick said in the new interview that Activision Blizzard is looking to hire more than 2,000 new people in development positions to meet its production schedules and demands. The executive remarked that the company expects it to be difficult to hire so many people due to the sheer number of open positions and competition from other gaming and technology companies.
Overall, Activision Blizzard is aiming to increase the size of its development teams on Call of Duty, Candy Crush, Overwatch, Warcraft, Hearthstone, and Diablo by 20%.
In the same interview with GamesBeat, Kotick talked about the possibility of a Pitfall remake and why he believes a Metaverse might be coming sooner rather than later.
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