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Activision Blizzard rumoured to be laying off ‘hundreds’ of staff

Activision Blizzard is reportedly laying off "hundreds" of staff tomorrow, Tuesday February 12th,  amid rumours it is restructuring to "centralise functions and boost profits".

According to Bloomberg, anonymous sources believe the layoffs will primarily affect staff outside the development teams, such as marketing, publishing, and sales, and it’s thought the cuts will be announced ahead of the company’s scheduled quarterly earnings call on Tuesday. Kotaku reports that some staff think "they’re pretty sure they’re safe", whilst "others say they fear they will no longer have jobs next week".

There’s been a lot of change at Activision recently. Activision Blizzard recently parted ways with its CFO, Spencer Neumann, and re-appointed its previous CFO, Denis Durkin, to the position instead.

In the wake of Blizzard’s reveal of mobile game Diablo Immortal, Activision-Blizzard’s shares tumbled, and Blizzard experienced an unprecedented backlash when it closed BlizzCon with the news that Diablo was coming to mobile. Almost 45,000 fans added their names to a petition calling on Blizzard to cancel the project.

Activision Blizzard recently released its Q3 2018 financial results and reported revenues of $1.51bn (£1.16bn). The firm expected revenues of $1.49bn so it’s up compared to its prior outlook but slightly down year-on-year as it made $1.61bn (1.24bn) during Q3 2017. Breaking down the revenue by company, then-CFO Neumann revealed Activision’s Q3 revenue reached $397m (£305m), with the "key contributors [being] Call of Duty digital in-game revenue and Destiny 2: Forsaken, although the latter underperformed [their] expectations".

Since then, Activision has parted company with Destiny developer, Bungie, with the latter assuming full publishing rights. In the earnings call, Activision COO Coddy Johnson explained that Activision’s MAU were "up sequentially from Q2" thanks to the good performance of Destiny 2’s expansion Forsaken, but "while Forsaken is a high-quality expansion with strong engagement and new modes of play, it did not achieve our commercial expectations, and there’s still work to do to fully re-engage the core Destiny fan base".

Destiny 2 director, Luke Smith then responded to reports that its latest expansion, Forsaken, "did not achieve [Activision’s] commercial expectations", stating that the development team at Bungie is "not disappointed" in the latest instalment.

"We are not disappointed with Forsaken," Smith asserted via a tweet. "We set out to build a game that Destiny players would love, and at Bungie, we love it too. Building Destiny for players who love it is and will remain our focus going forward."

About Vikki Blake

It took 15 years of civil service monotony for Vikki to crack and switch to writing about games. She has since become an experienced reporter and critic working with a number of specialist and mainstream outlets in both the UK and beyond.

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