Activision Blizzard has confirmed today the reports from last week that the company is restructuring some aspects of their business to focus on increasing profits after a rough 2018.
During the earnings call, the company stated that they would be losing 8% of its staff as part of the restructuring. Activision Blizzard has 9,800 employees, which means 800 employees will be laid off.
The company has seen increased pressure in the business with new free to play games, especially Fortnite, taking many player’s attention away from Activision Blizzard titles. The new free to play trend with games, like Apex Legends, continues to put pressure on Activision to change their style going forward.
Yahoo Finance reported that Activision Blizzard started notifying employees of the layoffs on Monday at its headquarters.
In a press release ahead of the company’s 2018 financial call, Activision Blizzard confirmed they plan to increase their development powerhouse to increase the output of content games going forward. With that, the company plans to layoff some of the non-development employees at the company.
In 2019, the company will increase development investment in its biggest franchises, enabling teams to accelerate the pace and quality of content for their communities and supporting a number of new product initiatives. The number of developers working on Call of Duty, CandyCrush, Overwatch, Warcraft®, Hearthstone and Diablo® in aggregate will increase approximately 20% over the course of 2019. The company will fund this greater investment by de-prioritizing initiatives that are not meeting expectations and reducing certain non-development and administrative-related costs across the business. The company is also integrating its global and regional sales and go-to-market, partnerships, and sponsorships capabilities. As part of these restructuring actions, the company expects to incur a GAAP-only pre-tax charge of approximately $150 million, the majority of which is expected to be incurred this year.
Kotaku also confirmed the news, stating that Blizzard plans to layoff non-development based employees in the U.S because of the small slate of game releases. Kotaku obtained a note from Blizzard’s President. The layoffs are occurring at Activision, Blizzard, and King.
“Over the last few years, many of our non-development teams expanded to support various needs,” Blizzard president J. Allen Brack said in a note to staff around 1pm PT that was obtained by Kotaku. “Currently staffing levels on some teams are out of proportion with our current release slate. This means we need to scale down some areas of our organization. I’m sorry to share that we will be parting ways with some of our colleagues in the U.S. today. In our regional offices, we anticipate similar evaluations, subject to local requirements.”
Activision files cease and desist letter against another cheat manufacturer
Activision Blizzard continues to take down cheat manufacturer sites to stop the spread of different cheats for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare and Warzone.
In August, the company filed a lawsuit against CXCheats for illegally creating cheats to be used in an IP owned by Activision Blizzard. CXCheats since deleted all cheats for Modern Warfare and Warzone in compliance with the lawsuit.
Now, in September, another large cheat manufacturer, GatorCheats, has said that Activision Blizzard has filed a cease and desist letter to stop them from making cheats for Call of Duty games.
The owner of GatorCheats said in their Discord that the first letter was filed by in May 2020, but they did not fully comply with that – opting to allow cheats to continue to be available.
In May 2020, Activision Blizzard’s attorneys contacted me via a Cease and Desist letter. Considering this event, I decided to act on my already pending decision to close all sales to new customers for my product relating to Modern Warfare and Warzone.
Activision has since escalated the requests. In Sept. 2020, the owner of GatorCheats claims that Activision Blizzard served another cease and desist letter. But, this time, a PI showed up at his residence with the letter and informed him of what Activision knows about their site and the owners behind it.
In September 2020, Activision Blizzard’s attorneys had another Cease and Desist letter hand delivered to me by who I assume was a PI, considering he knew my family members by name and made a point to showcase that he did. Also in September 2020, I received very clear communication in a follow up from Activision Blizzard’s attorneys communicating that they would litigate (file a law suit against me) if I didn’t comply with continuation of stopped sales as well as a complete stoppage of interaction with and updating of any products related to their client’s products.
The full letter from the owner states that he will “never make or create” a cheat for an Activision Blizzard product again after receiving the letters and a visit from them at his house.
Activision has not commented on their anti-cheat initiatives since June, where the company said they continue to ban players on a regular basis.
Activision files lawsuit against cheat manufacturer
Activision filed a lawsuit to sue a company responsible for creating hacks and exploits for Modern Warfare and Warzone.
Activision has sued CXCheats for illegally creating cheats to use in Call of Duty, the company announced.
CXCheats claims on their website that they are “dedicated to quality.”
This is a pathetic marketing line to convince users to buy cheats to use in Call of Duty.
As a result of our lawsuit with Activision, we have agreed to cease development and support for all Call of Duty related products or services sold through the site. These products will not be returning to CXCheats in any form. You also should be aware that using third-party tools in Call of Duty may result in the suspension or banning of your account by Activision Publishing, Inc. or the game’s developers. We apologize for any pain we’ve caused to players of Call of Duty.
Call of Duty: Warzone has been experiencing an intense amount of hackers since the game’s launch on March 13 on the PC platform.
With cross play, the hacks impacted the console players as well. PS4 players have opted to disable cross play to avoid them. Xbox players currently cannot disable cross play for unknown reasons.
CXCheats said on Discord that any user found using their software in Warzone will be banned, permanently.
Any user who utilizes unauthorized third-party software to gain an unfair advantage, manipulate stats, and/or manipulate game data is subject to penalty. Unauthorized third-party software includes, but is not limited to, aimbots, wallhacks, trainers, stats hacks, texture hacks, leaderboard hacks, injectors, or any other software used to deliberately modify game data on disk or in memory.
As of now, Activision has not commented on the lawsuit.
Former MLB executive joins Activision Blizzard to lead Sports & Entertainment
Activision Blizzard announced this week that former MLB executive will be joining the company starting August 17 in a newly formed position of President of Sports & Entertainment.
Petitti was the Deputy Commissioner and COO of MLB for years.
“Tony is one of the most highly regarded executives in sports and entertainment,” said Bobby Kotick, Chief Executive Officer of Activision Blizzard. “His success in media and as Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer of Major League Baseball is the perfect blend of skills to help us realize our aspirations for esports and our related businesses. He is admired by owners, media executives, players and fans.”
“Bobby Kotick has been translating his vision into opportunity at Activision Blizzard for 30 years. I couldn’t be more excited to use my own 30 years of sports and entertainment experience to help Activision Blizzard realize its ambitions,” said Petitti. “It’s clear to me the company has an incredible opportunity to connect players and fans in new and innovative ways, and I’m excited to be joining the company at such an important moment in its history. The last 12 years in baseball have been extraordinary for me and I am especially grateful for the leadership and mentorship that Commissioner Manfred provided to me and the League.”
Tony Petitti will join on to be in charge of the company’s esports businesses, which include Overwatch League and Call of Duty League, consumer products division, and films & television division.
Petitti will report directly to Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick.
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