Blizzard reportedly lays off at least 50 staff following shift away from live events

Starcraft 2 Image
Starcraft 2 Image (Image credit: Blizzard Entertainment)

What you need to know

  • Activision-Blizzard has reportedly laid off at least 50 staff from the company's live events departments.
  • Activision-Blizzard saw $2.4 billion in revenue in the prior quarter's earnings.
  • A new Call of Duty game and a remaster of Diablo 2 are set to be available later in 2021.

Update, March 16 (6:11 pm ET): Schreier added that several other staff across Blizzard were also laid off, receiving severance benefits and a $200 Battle.net gift card.

Thanks to a report from Jason Schreier at Bloomberg, we've learned that Activision-Blizzard has laid off at least 50 staff across parts of the company that worked on live events and in-person activities. Activision-Blizzard's earnings for the prior quarter saw the company beat expectations with $2.4 billion in revenue.

In statement to Bloomberg, the company said that "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."

In a follow-up post on Twitter, Schreier added that Activision-Blizzard has also laid off an unknown number of staff from across other parts of the company, including Candy Crush developer King. This news comes just a few months after Activision-Blizzard closed its Versailles office, with hundreds reportedly affected.

Looking ahead, Activision-Blizzard has several major titles in its pipeline, with a new Call of Duty coming in Holiday 2021 and a Diablo 2 remaster set to release later in the year. Meanwhile, work continues on Overwatch 2 and Diablo 4, though neither title will be released in 2021. Blizzard shared updates on these games at BlizzCon 2021 earlier in the year, with a deep dive into how Diablo 4 PvP works, as well as confirming that the development team is working on having cross-play and cross-progression in the game.

Update, March 16 (6:11 pm ET) — Additional details

According to Schreier, other staff were also laid off across Blizzard, receiving 90 days severance pay, a year of health benefits and a $200 Battle.net gift card.

Samuel Tolbert is a freelance writer covering gaming news, previews, reviews, interviews and different aspects of the gaming industry, specifically focusing on Xbox and PC gaming on Windows Central. You can find him on Twitter @SamuelTolbert.

4 Comments
  • What do the company's revenues last quarter and new games coming out, very specifically pointed out in "What you need to know", have anything to do with them moving away from live events? No one NEEDS to know either of those things to understand the company is no longer planning on doing live events and no longer needs those positions.
  • I just couldn't understand the article at all until I went back and read those two completely related points hah.
  • It was a business update. Headline leading with “laying off staff” is bait to get you to click. And it worked.
  • No, this information is presented AFTER seeing the title and clicking on it. It's more of a "this company makes SO much money, how can they lay people off"