Activision Publishing lays off staff following disappointing year

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InfiniteWarfare

Activision Blizzard has had a record year. The mega company that’s home to both Blizzard and Activision properties posted posted a company record $6.61 billion in GAAP (generally accepted accounting principles) revenues, up 41% year-over-year.

That should be good news, but much of that success rests on Blizzard, and the overwhelmingly positive critical and commercial reception of Overwatch. The Activision side of it all isn’t doing nearly as well. Last year’s Call of Duty, Infinite Warfare, didn’t do the sales numbers Activision was hoping for. Activision’s putting it down to the Space setting not quite resonating with players, but I think there’s more to it than that. I think the push for eSports means we see very little iteration in the multiplayer, and a very definite, impenetrable skill barrier that makes the series daunting for newcomers.

“It’s clear for a portion of our audience, the space setting just didn’t resonate,” Activision Publishing COO Thomas Tippl said. For that reason, the next Call of Duty is going back to the series’ roots, with “boots on the ground” action. A pity, because Infinite Warfare’s single player campaign was actually pretty damned good.

Another Activision pillar is apparently crumbling. Skylanders, the toys-to-life franchise that once earned Activision Billions of Dollars every year is in rapid decline, and this year will be the first one since the series’ inception where a new Skylanders game isn’t being released. Activision has managed to hit its sales targets despite all of this. Still, the publisher is laying off staff “at Infinity Ward, Beenox, and other internal studios as well as their corporate office,” says Kotaku. According to Kotaku, as much as 5% of the publisher’s 4000-strong staff count has been excised.

“Activision Publishing is realigning our resources to support our upcoming slate and adapt to the accelerating transition to digital, including opportunities for digital add-on content,” the publisher said.

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Blizzard, MLG and King were not affected by the layoffs.

 

Last Updated: February 13, 2017

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

  • Original Heretic

    Why don’t they try to do something other than Call of Doody…?

  • Admiral Chief

    STOP MAKING CoD GAMES!!!!!!!

    • And stop making WoW a facebook game!

      • Admiral Chief

        Que?

    • Ir0nseraph

      Always bad to see people loose their jobs, but just maybe they can try a new IP.

  • BakedBagel

    Its not the space setting.

    Its the constant ignoring of what was then your “Loyal Fanbase”

    No command line
    No mods
    No server browser

    Look at the freedom they gave players in COD4
    And look to now. All people asked for was a promod, and NOT p2p based servers.

  • PurplePariah

    🙁 Sad news.

  • Captain JJ

    In all honesty, I cannot think of a single Activision game of recent years that I played.

  • It’s not the space setting.

    It’s the eSports issue, it’s the stupid dancing emoji crap and it’s the gawdy paintjobs and crap.

    I’m a huge COD fan but this last one has been a massive disappointment to me.

  • Magoo

    You mean out of 4000 people the best idea they could come up with was: “Same same, but in SPACE!”

  • For the Emperor!

    Sad that those people do not form part of the “re-aligning” and have to lose their jobs because of a decision some stupid executive made (that person will probably keep their job).

    Corporate thinking: Made profit? Yeah. Made 1000% profit? No? Gotta lay off some peoples. Have more than 1 friend that got retrenched because a billions rand profit is not enough.

  • Deceased

    If they’re laying off devs for the reasons given, I think it’s unfair and distasteful, but that’s just me… 🙁
    ( **Spoiler** Devs don’t make the decisions in regards to what direction IP is going – they’re just code-monkeys )

    Still a sad affair that people are getting axed.

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