Blizzard Fires Dozens Of Employees & Pays Them In Gift Cards

Activision Blizzard Inc. has fired a number of its staff involved in esports and live events following the restrictions of live events in 2020.

Activision Blizzard Inc. fired dozens of employees last Wednesday, for the most part cutting off employees who worked with the esports and broadcasting department, as the company moves away from live esports events. The U.S workers will be paid out at least 90 days of severance and access to health benefits, along with $200 in gift cards.

Activision Blizzard Inc. is an American based video game publishing company, responsible for development studios such as Blizzard Entertainment, King, Major League Gaming, Treyarch, Infinity Ward, and Activision Blizzard Studios. Some of the biggest titles in gaming fall under the Activision Blizzard Inc. umbrella, including World of Warcraft, Overwatch, Diablo, Call of Duty, Tony Hawk, Crash Bandicoot, Candy Crush Saga, and StarCraft just to name a few. 

Related: Blizzard Developing Unannounced Multiplayer Game, & It Sounds Ambitious

According to well known game journalist Jason Schreier at Bloomberg, over 50 of the employees who were fired worked in live events for the company, handling esports programs such as the Overwatch League. Schreier claims in the article that Activision Blizzard Inc. fired just under 190 employees, which is less than 2% of the total amount of people who work for the publishing company. 

This mass firing is indicative of the company’s plans to move away from hosting live and in-person events, since the COVID-19 lockdowns have taken a serious toll on live and in person events. Many of the major gaming events held in 2020 were forced to go digital or be cancelled altogether, with big gaming in-person events such as E3 and The Game Awards switching to a digital only format instead of the in person events fans are used to. “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,” a spokesperson from Activision Blizzard Inc told Bloomberg

The company even had to postpone its yearly event, BlizzCon, until just last month. Usually, the convention is a time for Blizzard fans to get together and learn more about the next chapter for the studio and franchises. The finals for Blizzard’s esports tournaments are generally held during the convention too, but in 2020 Blizzard was forced to move the entire event online, scaling the convention back to just company announcements for the coming year. These controversial layoffs are another indication of how the company is coping with COVID-19 regulations. Activision will most likely have trouble living down its decision to hand out gift cards. 

Next: Activision Blizzard Under Fire For Hiring George W. Bush-Era Torture Advocate

Source: Bloomberg, Jason Schreier (1, 2)

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