Blizzard cuts 50 employees in move to reduce its esports business

Blizzard Entertainment has laid off 50 developers as part of a move to downsize its in-person esports footprint after the COVID-19 pandemic ends.

Blizzard Entertainment has laid off at least 50 employees (in the midst of a global pandemic), a move that the company tells Bloomberg News is part of a plan to de-emphasize in-person esports events that have been on hiatus for about a year.

A company spokesperson stated that “players are increasingly choosing to connect with our games digitally and the esports 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.”

However, Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier has apparently heard from other laid-off employees from Activision-Blizzard (Blizzard Entertainment’s parent company), indicating that today’s layoffs aren’t entirely focused on the loss of in-person esports events.

These layoffs also hit employees at Candy Crush developer King and other Activision-Blizzard subsidiaries.

Blizzard’s spokesperson did tell Bloomberg that the affected employees are receiving 90 days severance and health benefits as part of the cuts.

If you or someone you know has been impacted by today’s layoffs, you can share your story confidentially with Gamasutra by e-mailing us here.

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