The fourth-quarter financial results are out and Activision announced their highest profits ever. With this good news to report it’s only natural that Activision would announce their plans to cut 8% of their employees in the same breath.
According to CEO Bobby Kotick, “While our financial results for 2018 were the best in our history, we didn’t realize our full potential.” Translation: We made a boat-load of cash, but we wanted two boat-loads.
But wait, there’s more! On top of the announcement of record profits and the “laying off” of 800 employees, it was announced in January that Dennis Durkin will be returning, after an 18-month hiatus, as Activision Blizzard’s CFO (Chief Financial Officer). His return to the position came with a tidy little sign-on bonus of $3.75 million plus an additional $11.3 million in stocks. This is on top of his $900,000 annual salary, of course. Wouldn’t want to leave him with out some running-around cash.
According to a Bloomberg report, this is all part of a “restructuring aimed at centralizing functions and boosting profit.” When viewed alongside the announcement to release Diablo Immortal and Call of Duty Mobile it is becoming obvious that they are looking to shift focus to the more profitable Asian mobile market with games, which are cheaper to produce and have a much faster development time. Minimum effort, maximum profits.
So, after years of support, the western market is being tossed aside. They will continue to support existing titles, at least until they decide it’s just not financially viable anymore. They have already unburdened themselves of Destiny 2 (thank heavens). Support for Hearthstone and Heroes of the Storm is already being cut back. The next Starcraft, if there is one, is bound to be a mobile release. It makes one wonder how long it will be before Overwatch or World of Warcraft are too problematic to continue supporting.
It is a shame that Blizzard hitched their wagon to this lame horse. Despite some recent negativity surrounding the company, they have consistently developed good games that people want to play. However, when you swim with the sharks, you have to expect to get bitten.