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Layoffs to hit Activision-Blizzard's European offices later this year

Activision-Blizzard is apparently planning to shutter and reoganize some European offices, with layoffs expected to be part of the closure process.

Activision-Blizzard is planning to lay off employees and close its European publishing offices later this year.

The news comes from a report in Gamesindustry.biz, who spoke with sources and a Blizzard spokesperson about the news.

Activision-Blizzard’s motivations in these closures appears to be part of a pandemic-driven consolidation that will see the team’s European offices shift to a central hub in the UK.

A Blizzard spokesperson told GI.biz that the company has “shared plans with our teams in Europe for how we would evolve as an organization, adapting to this change to serve our players and best positioning the region for future growth.”

“We will be taking extensive steps to support all employees and ease the transition for those of our colleagues who might be impacted by these proposed changes."

Due to European labor laws, the company has been required to enter a consultation period before shutting down offices in Germany, France, Spain, the UK, as well as two offices in the Netherlands.

In a frankly infuriating bit of parlance, Activision-Blizzard’s pandemic-driven justification for these closures used some of the same language that was part of its esports-driven cuts earlier this week.

“Players are increasingly choosing to connect with our games digitally," the spokesperson told GI.Biz, using the same parlance to describe cuts to in-person esports programs (which obviously have been hit in the pandemic) as to its publishing offices (where the digital connection is less clear).

An additionally frustrating fact is the news that these jobs will be lost while Activision-Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick (already one of the highest-paid CEOs in the video game business) is apparently set to receive a $200 million payout after the Shareholder Value Creative Incentive clause in his contract was triggered by the company’s stock riding at least 90 days at double its value.

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