Overwatch and Call Of Duty maker to cut 800 jobs

OverwatchImage copyright Activision Blizzard

Video games publisher Activision Blizzard has announced it will lay off about 800 people, despite reporting record revenue in 2018.

The company made $7.5bn (£5.8bn) last year, up from about $7bn in 2017.

Its chief executive, Bobby Kotick, said the results were “the best in our history” but did not “realise our full potential”.

Titles published by the Activision Blizzard group include Call Of Duty, Overwatch and Candy Crush Saga.

The Activision Blizzard group is made up of several games studios including Crash Bandicoot publisher Activision, World Of Warcraft maker Blizzard and mobile gaming giant King.

It has about 9,600 employees and 8% of them will be laid off.

Most of the job losses would not be in game development departments, the company said. But many roles related to its e-sports business appear to have been cut.

King’s Seattle-based mobile game studio Z2Live will be closed entirely, with the loss of 78 jobs.

In its latest earnings report, Activision Blizzard said Call of Duty had been the best-selling console franchise worldwide for 2018.

Games produced by Blizzard, which include Overwatch, Hearthstone and World Of Warcraft, had 35 million players monthly.

And King, behind the hit game Candy Crush Saga, boasted 268 million players monthly.

However, despite the record revenue, industry analysts had hoped the company would perform even better.

Many games studios are facing pressure from free-to-play titles such as Epic Games’s global hit Fortnite.

Fortnite Battle Royale is free to download and play and generates money selling optional outfits and accessories known as skins.

Rival publisher EA Games has adopted this model for its new game Apex Legends, which it hopes will challenge Fortnite’s dominance.

The company said Apex Legends had attracted 25 million players in its first week.

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