Blizzard has been quietly tightening the belt over 2018 through a variety of cost-cutting measures. Former employees who’ve spoken about the measures worry that some of Blizzard’s troubles might be caused by a changing corporate culture.
A mild blizzard.
Last Friday, Kotaku and Eurogamer reported on some of Blizzard’s efforts to reduce expenses. One reported by both articles is Career Crossroads, a voluntary buyout program where employees can volunteer to leave the company with a healthy severance package. At first, it was only for veteran customer service representatives who have been working for five years. However, this year Blizzard opened it up to QA and IT while reducing the year requirement. One anonymous employee said Blizzard has been trying “to find creative ways to cut costs that won’t draw negative press attention”. Eurogamer mentioned that Europe’s main customer service office in Cork, Ireland, will have over 100 employees leaving by the year’s end.
Meanwhile, Blizzard has been hiring for its game design teams. It’s apparent that the company is changing its focus to making more games. The workers, former and current, have expressed concern over how the culture change will affect their company.
Back in November, Kotaku did an investigative report on Blizzard after the maligned announcement of the mobile game Diablo Immortal. They spoke to 11 anonymous employees, current and former, about their company. They spoke about a variety of topics, including concerns over Activision, which merged with Vivendi Games (Blizzard’s holding company at the time) in 2008. Despite the merger, Blizzard kept their own identity. However, the recent cost-cutting measures are causing concerns that the company’s culture might be changing.
Blizzard is a company known for a “release it when it’s ready” games as a service approach. Meanwhile, Activison has been releasing almost annual Call of Duty games since 2004. Kotaku’s newer article ended with a former employee voicing their concerns:
Blizzard is a special place. A lot of people are worried about the future of Blizzard—if the Activision method seeps in more, what that’s going to become.
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