Game Workers Unite is calling for the resignation of Activision CEO Bobby Kotick after the developer/publisher laid off almost 800 staff despite reporting record results in 2018.
Rumours that Activision Blizzard would announce "hundreds" of redundancies during its investors call were proved correct last week when the company announced it would be laying off 775 staff in order to "centralise functions and boost profits" – almost 8 per cent of its global workforce.
The layoffs came despite CEO Bobby Kotick confirming the company "once again achieved record results in 2018", but given the company had fallen short of its 2018 expectations and has had to lower those for 2019, it would be consolidating and restructuring, including revising the line-up at senior levels of the organisation.
"Upending 800 workers’ lives while raking in millions in bonuses for you and your c-suite buddies isn’t leadership, it’s theft," states Game Workers Unite. "We, the workers of Activision and their friends, have had enough. Join us in saying that it’s time to #FireBobbyKotick"
At the time of writing the petition has gathered 3,822 of the 4,000 it seeks.
"Bobby Kotick has been raking in $30 million dollars a year as Activision CEO, that massive income doesn’t come from nowhere," the statement insists. "It comes from the labour of his employees. Kotick’s wealth is built from the stolen wages of his workers. Activision, under Kotick’s leadership, gave a $15 million dollar bonus to the CFO *just for changing his job title* then they have the gall to turn around and lay off 800 workers just days later? It’s disgusting to hear Kotick boasting about record revenue for the company then announcing an 8% staffing cut in the next breath. Kotick was especially proud to announce the 9 per cent bump to stockholder values. That 9 per cent comes from our labour."
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 has parted company with Destiny developer, Bungie, with the latter assuming full publishing rights. In its Q3 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".