New reports from multiple sources state that Activision Blizzard employees are bracing for a big round of layoffs at the company next week, with reports stating that layoffs are expected on either Monday or Tuesday.
The new reports state that the layoffs at the company could be in the hundreds, one of the larger layoffs at the company in years.
The news comes as Activision Blizzard, along with many publishers in the industry, are facing a rocky financial quarter with new uncertainties in the gaming industry. Bloomberg first reported the news, stated that the layoffs “are part of a restructuring aimed at centralizing functions and boosting profit.”
On the Blizzard side, 2018 has been a year of cost cutting and budget re-allocation as Activision executives have been looking for ways to increase profit. Blizzard has only been releasing expansions and updates to current portfolio and have not released a new game since Overwatch back in May 2016.
Kotaku reports that some of the layoffs are not of developer related roles, but rather marketing, publishing, and those divisions with Blizzard’s redundant roles expected to be replaced with those within Activision.
People who work or have worked at Blizzard told me that they expect Tuesday’s layoffs to be primarily in non-game-development departments, such as publishing, marketing, and sales. Some of those jobs and roles may then fall to Activision proper, further reducing Blizzard’s autonomy.
Activision, on the other hand, also had a shaky year. While Call of Duty continues to be successful, with the franchise the best selling franchise for the 10th year in a row according to NPD, the publisher no longer has Destiny in their portfolio, reducing their profits for the year. Activision also employees a number of staff to work on Destiny, and many of those people no longer have work now with Destiny all in Bungie’s hand.
Kotaku reports that many of the Destiny staff have been able to find other jobs within Activision, but some are not available to find opportunities.
Two people close to the company told me that there have been a few opportunities for those former Destiny staff to move to other teams, but those opportunities are limited, and members of that department are perhaps the most worried about their job security.
CDL Commissioner Johanna Faries set to be lead both CDL and OWL
This week has been an interesting week for Activision Blizzard’s Esports division and leagues.
It was first reported earlier this week that Hector ‘H3CZ’ Rodriguez is in talks with Immortals to reacquire the OpTic Gaming brand. With that, H3CZ would also acquire the CDL LA Spot.
Since H3CZ is a part of NRG has Co-CEO with the Chicago Huntsmen, Activision’s rules state one organization cannot own two spots in the same league. Rumors of who H3CZ plans to sell the spot to is rampant, but no official information has been disclosed.
Late on Thursday, Esports Observed also reported that Pete Vlastelica, the Commissioner of the Overwatch League stepped down from his role.
Now, EsportsObserved reports that Johanna Faries, current Commissioner of the Call of Duty League, is expanding her role to become ‘Head of Leagues’ at Activision Blizzard. In this newly created position, she will lead both Overwatch League and Call of Duty League’s league administration and broadcast operations.
Brandon Snow, current Chief Revenue Officer of Activision Blizzard Esports, is expanding his role to include marketing & analytics for the league. The former Chief Marketing Officer of Activision Blizzard Esports left in early September to be VP of DC Comics division of WarnerBros.
Both these new roles will take effect October 12, per EsportsObserved.
The first season of the Call of Duty League ended on August 31 with the Call of Duty League Championship Weekend. The event featured the most viewers in Call of Duty esports history, capping off a dynamically changing year with the on going pandemic.
Call of Duty League’s second season is set to kick off in 2021 with some major changes. The league announced that it will return to a 4v4 format, leaving one player on each roster looking for another starting role. They also announced that matches will be played on PC using controllers going forward instead of extending the esports partnership with PlayStation.
Activision has not announced these changes officially at this time.
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.
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