Activision Fires Dozens Amid Shift Away From Live Events

Activision Blizzard Inc. fired dozens of people on Tuesday across various departments, including 50 employees who handled e-sports programming and other live events.

The dismissals affect less than 2% of the total workforce, or fewer than 190 employees, said a person with knowledge of the matter who asked not to be identified because the number isn’t public. Also among the cuts were employees at King.com, the maker of Candy Crush.

The cuts signal that Activision plans a broader shift away from in-person events after a year of coronavirus lockdowns.

“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.

U.S. workers will receive a minimum of 90 days severance and health benefits for a year, as well as “job transition support,” the spokesperson said. They were also given $200 gift cards to Battle.net, the Blizzard online game service.

Last month, Blizzard held a virtual version of its annual BlizzCon convention that was more diminished than previous shows. Even as it reduces staffing in some divisions, Activision Blizzard, known for franchises including Call of Duty and World of Warcraft, gave an optimistic outlook for this year and next and said it expects to hire 3,000 people in 2021.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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