Activision Blizzard Esports Layoffs: Battle.net Cards &… | EarlyGame
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Activision Blizzard Lays off Staff, Gives Battle.net Gift Cards

Call of Duty
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Activision Blizzard sack dozens in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic. (Credit: Activision Blizzard)

Activision Blizzard are reportedly laying off 50 employees in a major restructure to their Esports Division. The layoffs will effect both the Call of Duty League and the Overwatch League, and happens weeks before the latter launches its 2021 season.

Well, Activision Blizzard are proving themselves fabulous humans once again with this latest round of layoffs. Fifty people, possibly more, and some from a division that have been working hard as f**k in the leadup to Overwatch Leagues 2021 debut on April 16. It's all okay, though, because they are giving everyone $200 Battle.net Gift Cards.

Well, aren't they nice? We're sure that the good folks over at OWL and CDL will be very pleased with their $200 gift card. Nice way for Activision Blizzard to channel money right back through to themselves again. A zero sum game, nothing to complain about whatsoever! Oh, and there's also the fact that it will probably be more than 50 people. Joy to the world, the publisher sings.

The story broke via the Esports Observer, whom revealed that the layoffs were partially due to Covid-19 having effected the Esports live tournaments. Despite of the layoff's, however, the publisher seemed rather positive about future live events, when they were speaking with GamesIndustryBiz:

Live events are still very much a part of both the Overwatch League and Call of Duty League strategies... We plan to get back to them as soon as it's safe to do so, and logistically feasible.

Well, if the live events are coming back, then why the layoffs? Sorry, Activision Blizzard, Call of Duty earned you $3 billion in 2020. That is, if the MANY zeros are confusing you, THREE BILLION US DOLLARS in just one year. That is just one franchise that the publisher owns... So no, it does not really sound like these fifty people were that big a drain on resources.

esports arena activision layoffs
The pandemic has brought a holt to more-or-less all in-person live events in Esports. (Credit: HOK / SAP)

Tony Petitti, not to be confused with Tom Petty, is the president of sports and entertainment over at Activision Blizzard. He has a lot to say about how the publisher will be restructuring to optimize their use of this little thing called "The Internet".

We learned a lot last year in terms of how the leagues can be structured for online play, and we’ll look to carry forward the best practices from that... In terms of timing, it’s a reaction to the realities of how the leagues are playing, and what resources we need to allocate to best serve the league, owners, teams and fans.

Tony, please allow us a single scoff – *SCOFF* – oh, and a sigh of course. Honestly, mate, let's not play this "blah blah blah to best serve the league, etc." rubbish. We can see through it, you're not fooling anybody. 

Most likely, Activision Blizzard is seeking to reduce its expenditure, and increase its profits until in-person live events are viable again. They may, or may not, really mind the effect that these layoffs will have on the actual human beings sitting at the receiving end of the table. We don't know, maybe your intentions are legitimate, but it's just a little hard to believe.

We have reached out to Activision Blizzard for comment on the exact number of layoffs that are being experienced, the specifics of the severance packages being provided, and for a thorough explanation as to why these layoffs were necessary. 

We are yet to receive a reply, but will update this article as required.

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