Activision Blizzard Layoffs May Cause Key Talent to Leave

Lakados

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That's a great point. However, initial cost for AAA titles is usually blown out of proportion due to an accelerated and regular production cycle. I like to think that what we call AAA is not really what anyone actually wants, but merely what a megacorp has fallen victim to producing on a regular cycle to optimize profits. Scale and conglomeration is part of optimizing for high volume profit, but this isn't directly correlated with quality. In fact, I've been very disappointed with most "AAA" titles for decades and I have generally used the term with negative connotation. "Bargain bin" title is now interchangeable.
Red Red Redemption 2: 265 million
Monster Hunter World : 200+ million (quoted as "more than it costs to make most movies")
God of War 2018: 100+ million
Spider Man 2018: 150+ million
Whicher 3: 80+ million
GTA 5: 265 million

not small numbers, but all good games that made their money back pretty quickly.
 

umeng2002

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You need to know your own worth and never stop keeping an eye on the job market. For the vast majority of publicly owned companies, they won't bat an eye firing you to make some arbitrary quota.
 

Gideon

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You need to know your own worth and never stop keeping an eye on the job market. For the vast majority of publicly owned companies, they won't bat an eye firing you to make some arbitrary quota.

People are their own worse enemy as they continue to work for a shitty employer rather then find a better place, ironically they are usually the ones that hate unions as well. Till people learn this lesson the rich will keep on getting richer.
 

haste.

[H]ard|Gawd
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It's a flipping accounting disclosure in an SEC filing kids. This is to protect them from legal lashback and entirely normal. Geez. The internet hate and gossip is strong here lately.
 

Uvaman2

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That's a great point. However, initial cost for AAA titles is usually blown out of proportion due to an accelerated and regular production cycle. I like to think that what we call AAA is not really what anyone actually wants, but merely what a megacorp has fallen victim to producing on a regular cycle to optimize profits. Scale and conglomeration is part of optimizing for high volume profit, but this isn't directly correlated with quality. In fact, I've been very disappointed with most "AAA" titles for decades and I have generally used the term with negative connotation. "Bargain bin" title is now interchangeable.
Im in the same line of thinking... AAA and 10s of millions so what? There is no need for this, and its a choice by the companies. A smaller more artistic game yes could be a bigger risk as it potentially wouldn't address marketing shaped choices/ preferences, but it could be a bigger success when measured against the cost of the game.
 

Uvaman2

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Also, how often AAA games use the voices of Hollywood actors? Money wasted if you ask me ( in fact its money wasted in animated Hollywood movies as well, voice actors are cheaper and better.)
A
Yeah, AAA, more like the big leagues of waste.
 

zehoo

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Wasn't it a bunch of support staff and eSports staff that they fired, not developers? With the decline of wow I could easily see a lot of support staff sitting around twiddling their thumbs with nothing to do.
 

Patton187

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You can do that but by month end employees have caught on and fear sets in, after the 3'rd week of pink slips most of them will have their resume's updated and a few of the better ones will already have started sending them out. Do it that way and you will see your top talent that you may be trying to keep find themselves new jobs out of fear that they were going to loose their job.
Loose their jobs? Did autocorrect do that?
 

gamerk2

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Red Red Redemption 2: 265 million
Monster Hunter World : 200+ million (quoted as "more than it costs to make most movies")
God of War 2018: 100+ million
Spider Man 2018: 150+ million
Whicher 3: 80+ million
GTA 5: 265 million

not small numbers, but all good games that made their money back pretty quickly.

Right, but then you need to consider the flops, which often bankrupted their studios.

Take Rockstar; given how much GTA6 is going to cost them, and given how long it is between games they release, what happens if GTA6 bombs? Rockstar goes bankrupt. CDPR is in the same boat with Cyperpunk.

EA and *maybe* Ubisoft can survive a big-budget bomb, but no other studio can.
 

Flexion

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Which isn't going to happen. The cost of AAA, or even AA development is simply too high, hence why Kickstarter backed games are a thing. Without significant outside funding, it's impossible to make a AAA release nowadays.

Yet there are obscure games like "Bright Memory" made by a single person that make me wonder what can be done by small studios sometimes. (OFC it's sorta crappy, but it's not bad for one dude. yes I know he ripped off some assets to use as assets early on. lmao.)

 

raz-0

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Does anyone else think that if these gaming companies don't fix their mess, it may come that one day Amazon and Netflix will be sponsoring AAA games or owning the studios?
Games are entertainment and they have the download mechanisms in place. All they have to do is rope in the developer talent that is scattered about from these layoffs and studio closures.

You are such an optimist. With video games seriously encroaching on TV, streaming, and movies, it makes sense for a company that produces such things buy in as a hedge. Amazon and Netflix are engaging in competitive intrusion, they aren't hedging. More likley it winds up with Comcast or similar.
 

Comixbooks

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They should just swarm together and make a decent Indi game. Not sure what the overhead costs would be but some decent projects are done that way.
I wish I was involved in the field actually making games.
 

ThatITGuy

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Shareholders need to force Kotick OUT. He's overpaid and running every popular franchise into the ground. Sure Activision is going to make some money in the short term but long term they're at huge risk. WoW and COD aren't going to keep them afloat forever.

Shareholders are not gamers. Shareholders want more money returned on their investment. Why would they kick him out? Key piece of the article:

publishing giant's "record revenue" for the year.

Might the wheels fall off in a couple years? Maybe. Right now, he is bringing in record revenue. For all of the hate of EA and Activision, millions of people pay their money to buy the latest "Call of Madden Ops 2019", now with re-textured maps from the last few games (for nostalgia) ,and a new loot box system that totally improves on the last one (but for which none of your purchases from that previous installment carry over). Somehow these "most hated" companies continue to make huge amounts of money, regardless of how many people talk about how terrible they are. As soon as any of these companies actually have a bad year, and there is an actual impact to Board/Shareholder pocketbooks, you might see some changes.
 

NickJames

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Shareholders are not gamers. Shareholders want more money returned on their investment. Why would they kick him out? Key piece of the article:



Might the wheels fall off in a couple years? Maybe. Right now, he is bringing in record revenue. For all of the hate of EA and Activision, millions of people pay their money to buy the latest "Call of Madden Ops 2019", now with re-textured maps from the last few games (for nostalgia) ,and a new loot box system that totally improves on the last one (but for which none of your purchases from that previous installment carry over). Somehow these "most hated" companies continue to make huge amounts of money, regardless of how many people talk about how terrible they are. As soon as any of these companies actually have a bad year, and there is an actual impact to Board/Shareholder pocketbooks, you might see some changes.

Not all stocks are run to same. Sure a lot are shortsighted but a long term investment means knowing the future of the company 2-4 years out. Activisions future is looking mighty bleak. They had big releases last year to keep them afloat but numbers are dwindling and so is the stock. Shareholders have already seen the writing on the wall and have pulled out in large numbers.
 

Lakados

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When I was younger I always thought it would be cool to get into the gaming industry but now that I'm older and have seen so many good studios get swallowed up and destroyed I'm staying far away from it.
I have friends who are still in it, they work on a project for 2 years, update their resume then move on to the next they slog it from coast to coast every couple of years, just about every one of them is now in the process of either getting teaching degrees on the side or looking at something completely different, like accounting.
 

ThatITGuy

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Not all stocks are run to same. Sure a lot are shortsighted but a long term investment means knowing the future of the company 2-4 years out. Activisions future is looking mighty bleak. They had big releases last year to keep them afloat but numbers are dwindling and so is the stock. Shareholders have already seen the writing on the wall and have pulled out in large numbers.
True, and i know that Activision has been trending downwards for the past few months, when it comes to stock prices. Where the price is now now, is actually about where it traditionally has been over the past 5+ years. I would actually say that those pulling out, are just trying to cash in on a 5 year high (and 1 year surge).
 

velusip

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Lakados, you make a good contra point against me without even knowing. I haven't played any of those. They don't look interesting at all. :)
Im in the same line of thinking... AAA and 10s of millions so what? There is no need for this, and its a choice by the companies. A smaller more artistic game yes could be a bigger risk as it potentially wouldn't address marketing shaped choices/ preferences, but it could be a bigger success when measured against the cost of the game.
These companies have no legal requirement to provide a detailed listing of corporate expenses and how they are factored into the development cost of a game. i.e. How is marketing factored in? What about breakdown of employee wages versus direct involvement with the project? etc

I haven't worked in the game dev industry (and I made a point to avoid it at a young age), but with mine experience in other systems and software dev, I just don't see it. There's something definitely wrong with some of those numbers given the results of their efforts.

Maybe I just don't like games. lol
 

steakman1971

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Blizzard died years ago. RIP. Not sure what the last Blizzard game I really enjoyed - either Diablo 2 or Warcraft 3? I never got into the Starcraft series - wife and I had babies at the time, so had other priorities. (Should go back and revisit...)
Diablo 3? Meh. I played through and found it to be let down grindfest.
 

kohl

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Shareholders are not gamers. Shareholders want more money returned on their investment. Why would they kick him out? Key piece of the article:

Might the wheels fall off in a couple years? Maybe. Right now, he is bringing in record revenue. For all of the hate of EA and Activision, millions of people pay their money to buy the latest "Call of Madden Ops 2019", now with re-textured maps from the last few games (for nostalgia) ,and a new loot box system that totally improves on the last one (but for which none of your purchases from that previous installment carry over). Somehow these "most hated" companies continue to make huge amounts of money, regardless of how many people talk about how terrible they are. As soon as any of these companies actually have a bad year, and there is an actual impact to Board/Shareholder pocketbooks, you might see some changes.

^^This^^

As long as Bobby is bringing in the dough for investors, he is doing his job. The only way he is bringing in dough for the investors is if customers are paying money for Activision Blizzard games. Until customers actually stop paying Activision Blizzard, Bobby's job is likely safe.
 

horskh

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My theory: The games industry has had a surplus of employees to hire for a while. Those who grew up fondly enjoying their video games had aspirations to be a part of that industry. With so many people to choose from, there is less importance on things like fair compensation, not overworking the employees, and the overall culture.

But, as more and more games come out which are not enjoyable, there will be fewer gamers who grow up with those same aspirations. The pool of potential employees for these companies will shrink, and they will find it necessary to improve the working conditions in order to retain their talent.
 

joobjoob

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Jun 29, 2004
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IME, Layoffs hit 2 groups the hardest. People who probably should have already been fired already. And the group of talented creative and passionate people whose vision conflicts with managements BS.
 

Youn

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same thing happened at my company... and others we know... people are seriously hurt for cash and great/loyal folks are being fired left/right for lower paying "flexible" non-complaining people (who are then forced to learn new roles while taking on 2x more load)
 
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