Fifty employees from the company’s esports division are to be laid off. How will this affect OWL and CDL?
Activision Blizzard has laid off nearly 190 employees across departments, including 50 from the esports division, according to a report.
The Bloomsberg report received the information from an unnamed source close to the matter. The move will affect less than two percent or less than 190 staff of Activision Blizzard’s total workforce. This move is part of Blizzard’s plans for the future after a year of disruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
What’s the reason for the recent Activision Blizzard layoffs?
Activision Blizzard cites the COVID-19 pandemic as the reason for changing viewership habits amongst esports fans. The pandemic forced many sports and esports leagues to move online as in-person events were increasingly difficult due to regulations and social distancing norms.
“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.
Workers in the U.S. will receive a minimum of 90 days severance and health benefits for a year. They will also receive ‘job transition support’ and $200 gift cards to battle.net, Blizzard’s online game service.
The 50 people who were let go from the esports division were part of the live events and programming sector. Also laid off were employees working at King, the developers of the popular mobile game, Candy Crush. Earlier this year, Activision Blizzard announced plans to hire around 3000 people in 2021. With the recent round of layoffs, it is unclear if Activision Blizzard plans to go ahead with those plans.
What’s the future for Blizzard’s live events?
Activision Blizzard is not completely moving away from live events, said Tony Pettiti to Sportsbusinessjournal. The Activision Blizzard President of Sports & Entertainment said OWL and CDL divisions are gearing up for fewer live events. It is important to note that OWL and CDL are not completely moving away from live events. But fans of the two leagues can expect to see changes in the league format over time.
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 Pettiti, Activision Blizzard President of Sports & Entertainment to Sportsbusinessjournal.
The move comes even as Activision Blizzard is looking to reduce costs and reallocate resources within the company. The Overwatch League kicks off next month while the Call of Duty League Stage 2 is currently underway.
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