600 jobs to be slashed by Blizzard
Activision-Blizzard has announced that 600 jobs will be axed in the Blizzard division of the company. In a statement, the company said that “90 percent of the layoffs will not be related to game development”, which suggests that support staff for MMO titles like World of Warcraft will be the employees being let go.
The hugely popular MMO has seen subscription numbers steadily (albeit slowly) decline over the past few months, from a peak of 12 million to around 10.2 million. A recent Gamasutra piece estimated that Blizzard employed over 4,000 customer-support related staff for World of Warcraft, across 11 cities.
In the announcement, Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime stated “In order to keep making epic game content while serving players effectively, we have to be smart about how we manage our resources. This means we sometimes have to make difficult decisions about how to best maintain the health of the company. We’re in the process of making some of those hard decisions now.”
Activision-Blizzard made a net profit of $418 million USD in financial year 2010, an increase on the previous year.
There is no indication at this time of any members of Blizzard’s management team helping to “maintain the health of the company” with a reassessment of their own financial renumeration.