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‘Record’ results can’t stop job losses at Activision Blizzard

The Call of Duty maker reported forecast-beating results on Friday but confirmed it was letting some staff go a matter of hours later

call of duty: infinite warfare video game
Some of those who worked on the latest Call of Duty video game have been let go

When your company boasts about “record” financial results, most workers would think a bonus is just around the corner, not job cuts.

Unfortunately for some at video game maker Activision Blizzard, Inc. (NASDAQ:ATVI) – the home of the Call of Duty franchise – that’s exactly what happened.

At the end of last week, Activision reported a 42% increase in revenues to US$6.6bn (2015: US$4.7bn) for the 12 months to 31 December 2016.

Digital sales were a big factor behind the rise, almost doubling over the period US$4.9bn. In fact, Activision made more money from digital sales alone in 2016 than it did in total the year before.

The numbers were impressive, even before the company put them into context: “In 2016, consumers spent approximately 43bn hours playing and watching Activision Blizzard content, on par with Netflix and over one-and-a-half times Snapchat.”

The strong performance wasn’t enough to stop the Activision Publishing division from laying off 5% of its staff.

Employees at the subsidiary's Infinity Ward and Beenox studios – responsible for Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare – were affected, as well as some from the company’s headquarters in Santa Monica.

Twenty of those let go were Call of Duty developers, who possibly paid the price for weaker-than-expected sales of the hit game last year.

The company released a statement which read: “Activision Publishing is realigning our resources to support our upcoming slate and adapt to the accelerating transition to digital, including opportunities for digital add-on content.”

The group’s line-up for the coming year is much smaller than 2016’s, with Destiny 2 and a new Call of Duty game the only confirmed releases so far. 

Quick facts: Activision Blizzard, Inc.

Price: 69.43 USD

NASDAQ:ATVI
Market: NASDAQ
Market Cap: $53.49 billion
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