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EXCLUSIVE: Here are where 209 jobs were cut in Blizzard's US business

EXCLUSIVE: Here are where 209 jobs were cut in Blizzard's US business

Update: Shortly after publishing this story, Blizzard Entertainment got in touch to provide comment on this story. 

The firm has said that these job cuts were not easy but that they will secure the developer and publisher's future. 

“We are unable to provide additional details beyond what we’ve publicly disclosed," the company told PCGamesInsider.biz in a statement.

"While the changes were difficult, they were important for supporting our current game-development priorities, which will serve as the foundation for Blizzard’s future. This will ultimately put us in the best position to create epic, high-quality content and entertainment experiences for our players around the world.”

Original story: We now have a better idea of how Blizzard's business in the United States has been affected by the eight per cent workforce reduction announced by Activision Blizzard CEO Robert Kotick in February.

In total, 209 members of staff have been let go from the Overwatch and World of Warcraft giant.

That's according to a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) filing obtained by PCGamesInsider.biz that was submitted with California's Employment Development Department by Blizzard Entertainment on February 12th, 2019. This details not just job losses in that state, but across the entire of the United States of America, and shows how many cuts have been made in individual departments. 

Corroborating what Kotaku had already reported, IT saw the highest amount of reductions, clocking in at 41 across all US locations. Meanwhile, the marketing department in Blizzard's Irvine, California and Austin, Texas branches saw a 29-person job loss between them. The same number of staff was let go from the Live Experiences teams in California's Irvine and Burbank, and Austin, Texas.

HR across Blizzard's Irvine and Austin locations saw 18 jobs affected, with the firm's Irvine office's Global Insights team being 15 people lighter following the cuts.

The North American publishing team at the Overwatch maker's Irvine HQ saw 12 people let go, with the quality assurance department seeing an 11-person redundancy across both that office and its New York branch. 

Blizzard's Latin America Publishing business in Irvine was hit to the tune of 10 people, while Web & Mobile team across the company's Irvine and Austin branches saw nine people let go.

The Finance and Commercial teams in Irvine took an eight-person hit each.

Activision's name makes an appearance in this filing, too. The Consumer Products team for both Blizzard - in Irvine - and Activision Publishing in Santa Monica, California and Minnesota's Bloomington were reduced by seven people. It's not clear what the divide between Activision and Blizzard is here.

The Battle.net team in Irvine was cut by five people, while Facilities in that location and Austin saw three members of staff losing their jobs. 

Customer Service at Irvine saw just two people let go, with one person each let go from the Activision Blizzard Esports League (ABEL) Marketing and Legal teams at Blizzard Irvine.

We've reached out to Blizzard several times for comment.

The 209 members of staff who have left Blizzard are on top of the 100-plus customer support employees at the company's Cork branch in Ireland who accepted payouts to quit.

When they were announced, no exact figure was placed on the total number of people who'd be losing their jobs, an eight per cent cut on Activision Blizzard's workforce - listed as being around 9,900 in the company's 10-K Annual Report - places the total in the region of 800 roles.

To date, we know where around 500 of these job cuts have been made. On top of the 209 roles detailed here, King's Seattle studio - formerly Z2Live - is being closed down, with one source telling VentureBeat that 78 people were losing their jobs.

Meanwhile, the Candy Crush giant also announced its San Francisco office was to shut. At the time, around 80 King employees on LinkedIn were down as working in the San Francisco Bay Area when the news broke.

WARN notices haven't been published by the federal employment bodies for either of these closures. Assuming the layoffs and studio closures meet the requirements of California and Washington State's local WARN legislation, Activision Blizzard will need to file this notice, so we'll keep an eye out for that. Incidentally, the last video games-related WARN notice that was filed with Washington State's Employment Security Department is for ArenaNet, with 143 members of staff laid off

On the other side of the United States and Albany, New York local paper Times Union reported that 12 were laid off from developer Vicarious Visions. This studio had most recently worked on the Crash Bandicoot N-Sane Trilogy, as well as the PC version of Destiny 2.

Those layoffs might be, in part, due to Activision Blizzard and Destiny developer Bungie parting ways, with the publishing giant recognising revenues of $164m as part of this deal

IGN Mexico has also reported that 15 people were laid off from Activision Blizzard's Mexico City location. This is listed as a sales office on the company's 'Locations' page

Outside of the United States, Kotaku has reported that 134 roles are set to be axed at Blizzard's French Versailles office, with staff still waiting to find out who will be getting the cut.

In its 10-K Annual Report filing with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, Activision Blizzard listed in its Risk Factors that these job cuts could potentially have a negative impact on its business. Publicly listed companies legally have to make investors aware of any factors that could affect its business. 


Editor - PC Games Insider

Alex Calvin launched PCGamesInsider.biz in August 2017 and has been its editor since. Prior to this, he was deputy editor at UK based games trade paper MCV and content editor for marketing and events for London Games Festival 2017. His work has also appeared in Eurogamer, The Observer, Kotaku UK, Esquire UK and Develop.

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