Have you ever been laid off from a job? You either get severance pay or continuing benefits until a certain date. Activision Blizzard recently announced a round of layoffs affecting around 190 people. The latest round of Blizzard layoffs include $200 Battle.net gift cards. These layoffs mostly affected live events, which have been suspended for a year due to COVID-19 lockdowns. This is also a signal that there may be a (temporary) shift away from live events due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Additionally, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick received $200 million while layoffs were happening. “While the increase in Activision’s stock price is somewhat commendable, as we stated last year and continue to assert, this achievement alone does not justify such a substantial pay outcome for the CEO,” CtW Investment Group researcher Michael Varner said. Kotick’s track record of emphasizing the bottom line at the expense of rank-and-file employees has been well documented. His compensation as CEO in 2019 was the 21st highest CEO compensation in the United States, and his handling of previous rounds of layoffs has also come under fire.
“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 company spokesperson said. This year, BlizzCon was held online due to COVID-19. It is expected for BlizzCon to hold a live event in 2022, but that is all dependent on how many people worldwide get vaccinated and if COVID-19 and its variants are still undergoing community transmission.
The bright news at the end of the tunnel is that the company expects to hire 3,000 people in 2021. We hope those laid off find new jobs soon. Hopefully live events also return so that we can start enjoying social events that are centered around gaming.