Activision Blizzard Layoffs 8% of its Employees

While the Activision Blizzard Q4 2018 conference was taking place, Blizzard Entertainment president J. Allen Brack announced this: “To better support these priorities, we need to reorganize some of our non-development teams. As a result, we will be reducing the number of non-development positions in North America and anticipate a related process in our regional offices over the coming months subject to local requirements.

I need to criticize the term used there. Non-development positions. I have parroted the same term in my previous article and even in Twitter, and I apologize for doing so. It is wrong.

Through my Twitter feed of 500+ Blizzard Entertainment employees, and a separate feed of over a 100 former employees, I have been able to list nearly 40 confirmed layoffs.

Among them, there are Community Managers, Quality Assurance (QA), eSports staff, artists, marketing, licensing, Public Relations, and Creative writers.

That’s just 40 that have been mentioned under my radar. There are countless who possibly don’t have a Twitter account, or that have departed silently.

Nobody can argue that any of these positions are development employees. Nobody should gaslight us into thinking otherwise. Those who helped grow the brand of Hearthstone, Overwatch, Diablo, StarCraft II, World of Warcraft, and Heroes of the Storm are developers.

Without them, there would be just a neat video game without a community. Without a soul. Thank you, all of you who sweat hard day and night, and overtime to make these games and their community the best.

Activision Blizzard had a great financial quarter, but still laid-off 8% of its workforce. Ubisoft had a great financial quarter and there were no layoffs. It is a matter of optics. The way it was done.

I am not going to blame Blizzard Entertainment as a whole. This came from the top tiers of Activision, and Activision Blizzard.

To be told the same day this is your last day employed at Blizzard. To be told the same day of the Activision Blizzard Q4 2018 conference call’s big earnings fanfare. That on itself is inhumane, and the opposite of Blizzard Entertainment’s core values toward its employees.

The severance package was a good thing. Not all companies do that. I would have gone a bit further. This is Blizzard Entertainment. Family. Not your regular corporate [insert word].

I have read at least one tweet where an employee was forewarned about the layoff, but will remain a few more months.

That is still a layoff, but those extra months provide an income to keep paying things like housing rent, student loans (if any), bills, and room to search for a new job. Why couldn’t these employees stay a few months with an expiration date?

Why should these employees learn about their possible layoff through a Kotaku anonymous tip, instead of coming ahead and letting employees know in advance? Where is the transparency? This is not how you treat “Family.”

This is the core of the anger. No one should blame fans, laid-off employees, or still-employed Blizzard employees for feeling anger. There is no way to gaslight your way out of these mass layoffs.

Wounds can heal. Thoughts can change. But in the meantime, there are possibly hundreds of Blizzard Entertainment family members without a job. The hurt will last a while until we know all of them have been hired.

I spent 5 years in a shelter for the homeless while updating Blizzplanet from a cheap wifi device. I know how not having a home or a job feels. I wouldn’t want that experience on anyone. Far less on family.

The least Blizzard should do is use their careers staff to relocate and find jobs for all of those who were affected by the layoffs. That’s what family does. Note: J. Allen Brack did say the following: “…career and recruiting support to help them find their next opportunity.

And because that is what family does, hundreds of Blizzard Entertainment employees who were not affected by the layoffs have been tweeting links and retweeting links of other video game companies who are hiring.

I have stopped uploading videos, or my usual gameplay time to read countless tweets for the past couple of days. You wouldn’t believe the love coming from both: those who remain and those who now seek a new job. Some are heartbreaking. Others are inspiring.

My love to all of them. I know many of you (fans) feel the same anger. Please, do not retaliate against Blizzard Entertainment as a whole. Some things have changed. But those who remain are still family, and they need to sustain their loved ones too. They still work hard to develop new content for our favorite games.

Do as all of them. Show your love for those affected by the layoffs. If your company is hiring, reach out to those who were laid-off, and share contacts on how to apply for a job.

Alex Ackermansocial media
Amy TayeSports Business Analyst
Andrew DunneeSports community manager
Bethany Hulse (@LashesSaches)CM of Relationships
Brian WrightQA Manager / Producer / Business Ops
Christina (@ristinHS)Hearthstone eSports
Daniel WalkerLatAm team Illustrator and Graphic Designer
@DemonSwaPeSports
Ellen YangHearthstone eSports Coordinator
Eriberto GarciaProduct Manager for College Overwatch
Jacob SkrokMotion Graphic Designer
Jennifer MallettWarcraft, Associate Brand Manager
Jens Salvesenproject management
Jesse J. HillHearthstone community manager
Jessie Lawrencesocial media manager
Josh WittgeHeroes of the Storm PR
Kelli O'LearyProject Manager, Global Marketing
Kenny ZiglerHearthstone Publishing Coordinator
Planning and execution of BlizzCon
Kieu Le (@Kieutiepie)Associate Product Developer
Les KroneOverwatch League Event Coordinator
Lexy Baxter
Linz StanleyMarketing
Marc S. OlbertzCreative Producer, Global Broadcast
Matt DobillAssociate Counsel, Licensing
@MikeTheITguyIT (Information Technology)
Nicole BlalockHearthstone eSports
Robert PauleSports photographer
Robert TaylorWorld of Warcraft public relations
Senpai UmildisBlizzard eSports (Brazil)
Stelanie Tsirlis (layoff effective August 2019)Esports Coordinator
Stephanie Sparkles
Stewart ChenStarCraft II eSports coordinator
SzenylithWorld of Warcraft community manager
Wei YueHearthstone eSports Associate Manager
Yannick LeJacqBlizzard writer/editor
YthisensWarcraft assistant community manager
Zerinax (Christina Sims-Mikkonen)Hearthstone community manager
@prscreamqueenfilm production

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Tomas Hernandez is owner of Blizzplanet.com since 2003. I post news about World of Warcraft, StarCraft II, Diablo III, Hearthstone, Overwatch, Heroes of the Storm, Blizzard Careers, and the Warcraft film. Blizzplanet is a leading fansite covering news about upcoming Blizzard Entertainment licensed products. I also post previews and reviews. I have interviewed book writers and Blizzard game developers. I was previously an employee of the OGaming Network (2003), and IncGamers (2008-2010). I was a guest newsposter for GosuGamers (World of Warcraft) a few years ago and for Diablofans.com (formerly Diablo3.com) ***Fans who would love to watch Blizzard-related panels and appreciate our efforts can support Blizzplanet’s patreon in a monthly-basis, or a one-time basis. Our staff are volunteer fans like you. Your donations will help us travel to all the Blizzard events we attend year-round to bring you the latest interview with the developers, photos, and panel videos (where allowed).

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