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Activision Blizzard drops 600 jobs

Activision Blizzard drops 600 jobs

Activision Blizzard's World of Warcraft isn't the draw it once was, and the company's having to shave 600 jobs to cut costs.

Activision Blizzard has confirmed that it will be chopping 600 employees from its payroll, as it loses World of Warcraft subscribers to free-to-play alternatives.

The employees, spread across the company's world-wide offices, are mainly administrative staff. According to the company's statement, around 90 per cent of the those laid off are from departments not related to game development. While that leaves sixty developers facing the chop, the company is quick to point out that nobody from the World of Warcraft development team is affected by the move.

This last snippet of information comes despite the massively multiplayer online role-playing game continuing to lose subscribers: the seven year old game lost 700,000 subscribers in the third quarter of 2011, and while it still boasts 10.2 million players it's not known how many of these continue to pay a monthly subscription and how many are simply taking advantage of the game's shift to a partial free-to-play model.

It's this model which appears to be causing Activision Blizzard a real headache. As games like Guild Wars 2 appear on the horizon, offering a similar multiplayer experience to World of Warcraft but without the associated monthly subscription once the free play limit is reached, the company's main source of income is under threat.

'Constant evaluation of teams and processes is necessary for the long-term health of any business. Over the last several years, we've grown our organisation tremendously and made large investments in our infrastructure in order to better serve our global community. However, as Blizzard and the industry have evolved we've also had to make some difficult decisions in order to address the changing needs of our company,' claimed Mike Morhaime, company chief executive and co-founder of Blizzard Entertainment, in a statement to press. 'Knowing that, it still does not make letting go of some of our team members any easier. We're grateful to have had the opportunity to work with the people impacted by today's announcement, we're proud of the contributions they made here at Blizzard, and we wish them well as they move forward.'

The company claims its development schedule will not be affected by the layoffs, with Diablo III, World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria, Blizzard DOTA, and StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm still on-track. The company has also indicated that it's interested in replacing some of its lost staff with additional developers, asking those interested in applying to head over to the official jobs board.

22 Comments

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suragh 1st March 2012, 16:04 Quote
Drop the guys who design such linear and boring raids in cataclysm and bring in people who can design to the standards of vanilla and burning crusade expansions.
Dr. Strangelove 1st March 2012, 16:06 Quote
WoW will probably loose even more players with Pandaria expansion. I know many players who don't really feel that Kong fu panda belongs in the WoW universe. I have a feeling Blizzard lost the ball a bit with the Pandaria idea, since it seems to split the community in two: those who will leave when it comes out and those who loves the idea. Unlike Cataclysm which got many "old" players back into the game I think Pandaria will have the opposite effect.

-Jacob
Dr. Strangelove 1st March 2012, 16:06 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by suragh
Drop the guys who design such linear and boring raids in cataclysm and bring in people who can design to the standards of vanilla and burning crusade expansions.
+1
Necrow 1st March 2012, 17:16 Quote
200 jobs here in Cork gone.

@suragh - the jobs are in support staff not designers, so mostly eastern European support staff working out of Cork office
-EVRE- 1st March 2012, 17:43 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by suragh
Drop the guys who design such linear and boring raids in cataclysm and bring in people who can design to the standards of vanilla and burning crusade expansions.

+2
DriftCarl 1st March 2012, 18:28 Quote
I think the panda expansion was just a terrible idea. I havn't played wow for a few years now but hearing the panda expansion just made me laugh, I honest thought it was a joke when someone told me about it.

I always wished that blizzard would release an expansion based on the Emerald Dream being overrun by a new enemy called Nightmare, so the expansion would be called the Emerald Nightmare. As a long time druid player, i would have loved that. But I wont be going back to wow so will never experience it.

However, re-release SWG in its original form, i would bloody jump on that game again. best MMO ive played where you can make tonns of cash and friends by playing non combat characters. No other mmo comes anywhere close to that sort of enjoyment.
Sloth 1st March 2012, 22:54 Quote
It certainly is confusing that WoW continues to lose subscribers, yet they make a point of not dropping any WoW devs. Makes me wonder two things: are they simply trying not to scare current subscribers, or is WoW perhaps not losing as much money as some other project(s)?

Also have to love that PR spin. 60 less developers yet everything is still right on track. Riiiiight.
Whindog 1st March 2012, 23:36 Quote
60 developers facing the chop.......not chopped.

We will see how it turns out.

Mayeb the console division got canned? Who knows......everyone just jumps on WoW.....but come on.....they arnt gonna sack 600ppl cause wow slows down.

The roles gone are more around the support team and possibly the retail teams.....as Digital distribution is taking over.

I dont think WoW had anything to do with these latest rumblings.
thehippoz 1st March 2012, 23:45 Quote
the gw2 beta is end of this month.. rumors are it's almost ready for release afterwards

they might be anticipating a fallout in subs least for this year
Skidd 2nd March 2012, 03:21 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by DriftCarl
I think the panda expansion was just a terrible idea. I havn't played wow for a few years now but hearing the panda expansion just made me laugh, I honest thought it was a joke when someone told me about it.

I always wished that blizzard would release an expansion based on the Emerald Dream being overrun by a new enemy called Nightmare, so the expansion would be called the Emerald Nightmare. As a long time druid player, i would have loved that. But I wont be going back to wow so will never experience it.

However, re-release SWG in its original form, i would bloody jump on that game again. best MMO ive played where you can make tonns of cash and friends by playing non combat characters. No other mmo comes anywhere close to that sort of enjoyment.

You yourself say you haven't played in years yet are quick to jump on the bashing bandwagon. Do you have any idea how much wow has evolved over the past 4 years... *sigh*
Hovis 2nd March 2012, 03:25 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by thehippoz
the gw2 beta is end of this month.. rumors are it's almost ready for release afterwards

they might be anticipating a fallout in subs least for this year

I think WoW is forecasting a fall in subs every year from here on out. I mean it'll never die, it'll probably not stop being the biggest MMO for years to come, but it's old, it's tired, and it's not going to be replacing players at the rate it loses them.

Also Diablo 3. That's going to hit the WoW player base hard.
Tris 2nd March 2012, 09:25 Quote
I don't see how they can justify dropping people at all to be honest. Given the amount of money they have made over the years, I'm sure they could take a bit of a hit and find other projects for the employees.
Woollster00 2nd March 2012, 12:24 Quote
Guild wars 2 is going to smash wow's subscriptions to 50% mark my words.
suragh 2nd March 2012, 12:46 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Woollster00
Guild wars 2 is going to smash wow's subscriptions to 50% mark my words.

Haha yeah, I can definitely see this happening. B)
Hovis 2nd March 2012, 14:51 Quote
GW2 won't. It could easily be twice the game that WoW is, indeed it sounds at least twice as much. But a hell of a lot of WoW players are addicts, casuals and kids. They aren't going anywhere.
Riffler 2nd March 2012, 15:26 Quote
Blizzard hasn't released a quality product since the Diablo 2 expansion pack, and cutting jobs isn't going to change that. They're running on reputation and user base at the moment, and that won't last for ever.

WOW survives because it's the biggest, not because it's the best, and like social networking, search engines and so much else, being the biggest confers a huge advantage. Everyone wants to play the game everyone else is playing, the game their friends are playing, and up until now, that has allowed WOW to hold on to most of its player base. Once that starts crumbling, WOW is over.
Sloth 2nd March 2012, 21:14 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hovis
GW2 won't. It could easily be twice the game that WoW is, indeed it sounds at least twice as much. But a hell of a lot of WoW players are addicts, casuals and kids. They aren't going anywhere.
Interesting that you mention casuals and kids as people who wouldn't be swayed by GW2. The subscription free nature of the game appeals to both of those markets quite well because it's relatively cheap and you can start and stop at your leisure.

On the subject of addicts, any MMO will have its "addicts". MMOs represent an accumulation of time and effort, every MMO player is hesitant to move to a new game as it represents giving up all that they've gained and starting over. Because of this no reasonably mature MMO will ever see anything near 50% playerbase loss in the short term, no matter how good the competition is.
nuc13ar 3rd March 2012, 15:09 Quote
a few of the asian kids i know were dropping wow cause of the school/economy and were playing league of legends. my older friends seems to be playing battlefield 3
chemo 3rd March 2012, 16:08 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. Strangelove
WoW will probably loose even more players with Pandaria expansion. I know many players who don't really feel that Kong fu panda belongs in the WoW universe. I have a feeling Blizzard lost the ball a bit with the Pandaria idea, since it seems to split the community in two: those who will leave when it comes out and those who loves the idea. Unlike Cataclysm which got many "old" players back into the game I think Pandaria will have the opposite effect.

-Jacob

whilst i agree with your first point, i think what you say about cataclysm tempting old players back isnt true. i played from vanilla up to wotlk with quite alot of my original guildies and most of us took a look at cataclysm and felt its the end of the road and didnt bother even buying it.
its not hard to miss the old world of warcraft though and i think its a shame what its become but theres no way back now :(
azrael- 3rd March 2012, 17:34 Quote
600 jobs axed ...Bobby K. must have felt strapped for cash lately.
lugtop 11th May 2012, 10:22 Quote
Firstly I'm sorry for anyone who looses their Job all of a sudden like this , its a hard time .

As for f2p replacing p2p I dunno. One example would be my experience playing a f2p such as Fallen Earth , as the theme attracted me there, the servers suffer from frequent patch updates , players put up with so many bugs, rubber banding is one of them. Yet the FE world is a Dx9 but the game itself is great imo, it lacks cash of games like WoW.

So for the pvp its p2 win. Its crafting based game too, you can make anything in the game,f2p crafting takes ages, but you can pay a sub with a vastly improved crafting time.

As a current wow player I liked the idea, but with the sub cost way more than WoW does , its not worth it right now.
IMO in Cataclysm the artwork has been outstanding, but the content too easy,As for new players , its not the same experience that classic or TBC gave I have to admit that. Th eday XP was added to BGs was the start of the undoing for WoW in a way, as its just rolled on to become no challenge. Plus looking at multiboxing , I call that cash grabbing.
99problems 12th June 2012, 12:50 Quote
Agreed, losing your job (especially) these days is awful. My heart goes out to the jobless & their families.

With that being said, Blizzard has had this coming for a while. It's not just the F2P issue thats costing them subs, it's also the re-heated content they keep trying to shove down players' throats.

Vanilla was fun to play & the Burning Crusades I enjoyed also, but thats where it should have stopped. You can't keep adding new bits onto old content.. eventually you need a new game. Now I understand what goes into creating & maintaining an mmo, so you can't just "crank out a new one" but you also can't expect you put sour cream... then cheese.... then guac, on a 7 year old burrito & not make you sick to your stomach.... not to mention give you a lasting pain in the ass.

Couple that with the steaming smelly pile of hot crap Blizzard calls customer service & you have a Titanic, post Iceberg. (100 year anni, is it still too soon O.o?) Meanwhile everyone is running around screaming "whats happening?!?"

If Blizzard expects to remain competitive they need to grit their teeth, take out a 2nd mortgage & get WoW2 underway instead of stuffing a panda up my butt

P.S. this is just a personal gripe of mine, but why do I have to pay for pets & mounts now?

I remember when the epicness of my mount was due to the conviction of my playing, not the rediness of my credit card.
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