Activison Blizzard has laid off around 8% of their workforce today, an action that took place prior to their quarterly shareholders call. This hit people in non-development departments, mainly focusing on social media, branding, and administrative employees. A statement was also released by Blizzard's President, J. Allen Brack.

The Quarterly Earnings Call

Here's everything we learned from the call.

  • Activision Blizzard saw record numbers (profits) for 2018.
  • Hearthstone player numbers stabilized compared to the downward trend from last quarter.
  • Hearthstone (and other games) are to have their dev team sizes increased by around 20% in 2019.
  • Investing in developers over other areas is an important focus for the company.

J. Allen Brack's Message

Blizzard's president released a statement to the community. Here is our summary.

  • The company will continue to create epic games and entertainment experiences.
  • Esports remains a priority for the company and they plan to continue to produce competitive content.
  • The number of non-development positions in North America has been reduced.
  • Impacted employees were granted severance which included additional pay, benefits continuation, and career / recruiting support.
  • Blizzard will continue to work hard towards their mission and our expectations.

Our Take

It's good to see that Hearthstone has stopped the clear downward trend it had last year and hope to see the game grow this year. Adding more developers over time should help them release additional content for the game, or improve existing content. It will ultimately depend on how the Hearthstone team ends up allocating those resources.

I'm saddened to see some of our Blizzard friends (and everyone hurt by the layoffs) let go and wish them the best of luck in finding a new place to call home. As evidenced by posts on the web, working at Blizzard was a dream for many of those let go today - it was more than just a job. It will be hard to fill that gap and Blizzard is honestly quite lucky to have the fans that it does.