Blizzard Entertainment Has Paid 100 Customer Service Employees to Voluntarily Quit

cageymaru

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Blizzard Entertainment is offering cash incentives equal a full year's pay to its customer service employees in Ireland to voluntarily quit their jobs. This is the fifth time that Blizzard has enriched the cash payout to employees. Remaining employees say that the loss of 100 associates has placed a tremendous strain on its customer service team. Another "100 agents, managers and back office staff will leave Blizzard at the end of December" according to sources at the office. These cost cutting measures are thought to be part of the Activision influence as employees say Blizzard Entertainment President J. Allen Brack discussed cutting costs and a "lean year" in 2019 during video calls.

In a statement issued to Eurogamer, Blizzard Entertainment confirmed staff were taking up its voluntary exit offer, but stressed it was not encouraging people to do so. "The employees who are choosing to leave the company later this month are taking advantage of a voluntary and longstanding program we offer in various locations around the world. This program, which has proven popular in the past, gives eligible staff the option to make the most of incentives while proactively pursuing other career opportunities. No one is required or encouraged to participate in this program, but for those who do, we work hard to make it generous."
 

kreno

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Yeah ok, lean... Their subscription services for World of Warcraft alone bring in over 1.5 billion dollars a year. Hearthstone is a cash cow and a half, plus Overwatch selling 40+ million copies over the last couple years. Yeah, 100 employees being let go and straining your customer service people is a great tradeoff... omg wtf.
 

Dan_D

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Yeah ok, lean... Their subscription services for World of Warcraft alone bring in over 1.5 billion dollars a year. Hearthstone is a cash cow and a half, plus Overwatch selling 40+ million copies over the last couple years. Yeah, 100 employees being let go and straining your customer service people is a great tradeoff... omg wtf.
I'm sure they get a cut from the Activision games that get sold on Battle.net as well. Destiny 2 and BLOPS XXXIXIXIXIXI or whatever it is.
 

percydaman

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Yeah ok, lean... Their subscription services for World of Warcraft alone bring in over 1.5 billion dollars a year. Hearthstone is a cash cow and a half, plus Overwatch selling 40+ million copies over the last couple years. Yeah, 100 employees being let go and straining your customer service people is a great tradeoff... omg wtf.
That's the problem with mega corporations. They only look at how they're doing compared to a quarter or a year ago....
 

Krenum

[H]F Junkie
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They can pay employees to quit, but they can't pay to make a good game.....Sounds like the engine is running, but nobody is behind the wheel.
 

DocNo

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They can pay employees to quit, but they can't pay to make a good game.....Sounds like the engine is running, but nobody is behind the wheel.
Myopic managers see things like support as overhead that doesn't recoup value but programmers do.

It's not true, but it's hard to quantify the long term effects shitty customer service has and once you damage a relationship with a customer it's much harder to get it back than maintain it.

But we don't reward for long term planning; it's always the next quarter and move on. Ugh.
 

Grimlaking

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Yea way back when I was working for McAfee and we had a new CEO come in (before Intel purchased them) and he was at a corporate office with a heavy development presence. (And unbeknownst to him a large Support presence as well.) he said and I quote. "You need two things to have a successful company, Development and Sales." He paused expecting I think cheers? One of the support people called out in the auditorium. "Are you serious?" It was a amazing event that poisoned the waters and had the leadership kissing support's ass for years after.

You see in the world of Anti Virus, the people that update the signatures and figure out how to actually remove viruses for customers when the software fails to... that was the enterprise support team. (For Enterprise customers. No idea what happened for the shit that we called retail software.) The CEO realized that later on when he was wheeling around the office on his seguay (sp) device and nobody from the support organization would get out of his way or even walk faster... we were MORE likely to pause and discuss things like how we saved a customer from suing for breach of contract by saving their asses.

Ahhh good times. Glad to see the same myopic leadership is infecting Blizzard.
 

WarriorX

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Yea way back when I was working for McAfee and we had a new CEO come in (before Intel purchased them) and he was at a corporate office with a heavy development presence. (And unbeknownst to him a large Support presence as well.) he said and I quote. "You need two things to have a successful company, Development and Sales." He paused expecting I think cheers? One of the support people called out in the auditorium. "Are you serious?" It was a amazing event that poisoned the waters and had the leadership kissing support's ass for years after.

You see in the world of Anti Virus, the people that update the signatures and figure out how to actually remove viruses for customers when the software fails to... that was the enterprise support team. (For Enterprise customers. No idea what happened for the shit that we called retail software.) The CEO realized that later on when he was wheeling around the office on his seguay (sp) device and nobody from the support organization would get out of his way or even walk faster... we were MORE likely to pause and discuss things like how we saved a customer from suing for breach of contract by saving their asses.

Ahhh good times. Glad to see the same myopic leadership is infecting Blizzard.
Stories like this is why movies like Office Space will remain relevant for years to come.
 

Galvin

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2,697
This is just the beginning. Players are catching on to what blizzard and activision are doing. This may have been happening for years. But its all going to come to a head eventually.
We need games development to be more than just squeezing more money out of the player. Glad people are noticing this though
 

steakman1971

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Stories like this is why movies like Office Space will remain relevant for years to come.
Man, so true. I've been working for about 30 years. I've worked at a mid-sized company that was cool for a while. Next thing you know, the toilet is flushing and it all goes down the drain.
After that, I worked for a very large software company that was all about profit and shipping more software. Fine, except they had no respect for employees. They eventually imploded. They were recently acquired and laid off a lot of the old staff.
My current job is ok. My wife attitude is that it is a job that I do to get paid for. I do enough to make my boss happy, but am no longer killing myself. I try to be like Michael Bolton from Office Space.

Blizzard has fallen - I blame Activision. I don't play any of their games anymore. If Diablo 4 comes out, I will likely be interested in playing it at some point. However, I was let down with Diablo 3 and have no plans of jumping in to a new version right away.
 

filip

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Man, so true. I've been working for about 30 years. I've worked at a mid-sized company that was cool for a while. Next thing you know, the toilet is flushing and it all goes down the drain.
After that, I worked for a very large software company that was all about profit and shipping more software. Fine, except they had no respect for employees. They eventually imploded. They were recently acquired and laid off a lot of the old staff.
My current job is ok. My wife attitude is that it is a job that I do to get paid for. I do enough to make my boss happy, but am no longer killing myself. I try to be like Michael Bolton from Office Space.

Blizzard has fallen - I blame Activision. I don't play any of their games anymore. If Diablo 4 comes out, I will likely be interested in playing it at some point. However, I was let down with Diablo 3 and have no plans of jumping in to a new version right away.
The real trick is to make 50% effort look like 100% effort ;)
 

N4CR

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100 low level employees? That's a couple of executive bonuses right there. Simple decision. Corporate priorities.
Probably also as it avoids them being put in the 'layoff' category so it looks better for shareholder reports. Instead of layoffs, these staff members 'moved on' via their own accord.
 

Dead Parrot

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Cut support staff. Release more games. Adopting Microsoft QA model?

At least for the 100, they had a 'choice' and could plan for their unemployment. Much better then finding out via email that your box of crap is waiting at security when you show up at your now former place of work.
 

emphy

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They can pay employees to quit, but they can't pay to make a good game.....Sounds like the engine is running, but nobody is behind the wheel.
It's worse: there's someone behind the wheel, but he's seen a big wad of cash hanging over the edge of a cliff. He has just determined the right speed to reach it...
 

naib

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This screams of pension concerns and other EU ruling concerns
 

Bigshrimp

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I worked with people who put in more effort to look busy then it would have cost to do the actual work they were supposed to.
People that work behind me talk and laugh all day long. They rarely focus on actual work. I am just sitting there trying to concentrate while they get paid to bullshit all day. :(
 

Aioeyu

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Watching Blizzard die, a company I've loved and enjoyed for the better part of 25 years since I was a wee child and spent upwards of $5k on their games over the years (my playtime on WoW is over 2 years of real world time over the last 14 years), almost feels like watching a beloved family member die. Right now is similar to that time near death where everyone knows the family member is close to dying but isn't quite there yet, but their health is failing rapidly. Should we start taking bets now on whether or not Blizzard will still be alive in 2020, or just be another cannibalized husk of a developer destroyed and shuttered by Activision? The only thing Blizzard could do at this point to save themselves would be to cut out the cancer that is Activision, but that isn't likely to happen since Blizzard is even more in bed with Activision than any other developer murdered by Activision over the years.
 

Denpepe

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I think the failed project titan did not go over well with the investors even if it resulted in Overwatch.

You have to love and respect that blizz supports their games so well for so long, the downside is that the more games you have the more effort it takes to keep doing that for all.

I feel blizz lacks the talent and manpower to keep games like WoW, Overwatch, Heroes of the storm and Heartstone fueled with content while also making new games besides that.
 

Dekoth-E-

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Low level call center agents that earn at most $15/hr are fully replaceable if needed. This isn't even newsworthy. Call centers drop and pickup employees like this all the time. Newsflash guys, a call center doing cutbacks isn't indicative of anything. These aren't skilled employees like Coders, designers or artists. They are generic call center employees that can be replaced in a couple days notice through temp agencies. If anything Blizzard should be praised for letting them go with what appears to be an extremely nice severance package. Your average call center employee doesn't get severance, they simply get "Have a nice life, here is your final check".
 
Joined
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Games as a service is coming home to roost.

The value of whale milk must be dropping.

It's either that or the whales are drying up.
 

RealBeast

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648
Wait, what?

The news to me is that Blizzard had *any* customer service employees to fire in the first place.
 

sfsuphysics

I don't get it
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. Yeah, 100 employees being let go and straining your customer service people is a great tradeoff... omg wtf.
It's what happens when you have bean counters in charge. 100 employees let go and lets say each one was 50k a year in salary and benefits, that shows up as 5 million dollar gain without having to do anything other than firing people!
 

Al Capwn

n00b
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Why would you pay your employees a full years salary to quit instead of just paying them for the year to do their job?
 

Tiberian

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If you can afford to give 100+ people a full year's salary to not work, why not let them fucking work and see how things go with the company in the interim? I never understand how companies say "We're cutting back and making our company leaner and more efficient..." by coughing up a full year's salary to a given number of people, in this case 100+ so what's that in Irish monetary currency, as a ballpark?

Just another example of corporate greed more than likely - no I don't know the specifics of course but even so, to offer a full year's salary to send 100+ people off to look for other jobs, geez, how much money does it take, really?
 

p.i.m.p

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If you can afford to give 100+ people a full year's salary to not work, why not let them fucking work and see how things go with the company in the interim? I never understand how companies say "We're cutting back and making our company leaner and more efficient..." by coughing up a full year's salary to a given number of people, in this case 100+ so what's that in Irish monetary currency, as a ballpark?

Just another example of corporate greed more than likely - no I don't know the specifics of course but even so, to offer a full year's salary to send 100+ people off to look for other jobs, geez, how much money does it take, really?
it's business. they paid them out a years work, but save on not paying medical etc.
 

kinjo

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Low level call center agents that earn at most $15/hr are fully replaceable if needed. This isn't even newsworthy. Call centers drop and pickup employees like this all the time. Newsflash guys, a call center doing cutbacks isn't indicative of anything. These aren't skilled employees like Coders, designers or artists. They are generic call center employees that can be replaced in a couple days notice through temp agencies. If anything Blizzard should be praised for letting them go with what appears to be an extremely nice severance package. Your average call center employee doesn't get severance, they simply get "Have a nice life, here is your final check".
Having had several friends who worked in Blizzard customer support I can tell you, you are wrong. Blizzard doesn't hire throwaway customer support like most tech companies they are actually competitive positions with real room for advancement. as a result blizzard has historically had some of the best front-line support desk people of any large games developer. Blizzard dropping 100 support people is a big deal. those were decent jobs; and it indicates a troubling change in direction for a company that used to focus on making great games and now seems to be reorienting toward focusing solely on quarterly profits.
 

motomonkey

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Low level call center agents that earn at most $15/hr are fully replaceable if needed. This isn't even newsworthy. Call centers drop and pickup employees like this all the time. Newsflash guys, a call center doing cutbacks isn't indicative of anything. These aren't skilled employees like Coders, designers or artists. They are generic call center employees that can be replaced in a couple days notice through temp agencies. If anything Blizzard should be praised for letting them go with what appears to be an extremely nice severance package. Your average call center employee doesn't get severance, they simply get "Have a nice life, here is your final check".
This.

Low level Customer service employees are treated like toner cartridges. Worse, actually. We usually recycle toner cartridges these days.

Friend of mine worked at one of the big telecom companies, let’s just call it the “ Death Star”, as mid level management in a call center. The unwritten policy there was to lay-off anyone who Has been there over a certain amount of time, which wasn’t usually a problem since the work environment was so toxic people didn’t usually last more than a couple of years anyway.
 

Grimlaking

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Low level call center agents that earn at most $15/hr are fully replaceable if needed. This isn't even newsworthy. Call centers drop and pickup employees like this all the time. Newsflash guys, a call center doing cutbacks isn't indicative of anything. These aren't skilled employees like Coders, designers or artists. They are generic call center employees that can be replaced in a couple days notice through temp agencies. If anything Blizzard should be praised for letting them go with what appears to be an extremely nice severance package. Your average call center employee doesn't get severance, they simply get "Have a nice life, here is your final check".
That's where you are wrong. The corporate culture inside of Blizzard UNTIL ACTIFUCKISION came along was one of inclusion and responsibility and it was one that kept employees around.
 

Verge

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Messages
6,415
100 low level employees? That's a couple of executive bonuses right there. Simple decision. Corporate priorities.
Low level employees have consistantly over the last 100 years, done nothing for the stock price.

Thus, they are expendable. You do realize this is a publicly traded company. It exists to please the shareholders.
 

Dekoth-E-

Supreme [H]ardness
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That's where you are wrong. The corporate culture inside of Blizzard UNTIL ACTIFUCKISION came along was one of inclusion and responsibility and it was one that kept employees around.
So they generally treat their call center employees better than most..doesn't make what I said wrong. Fact is, it is a low/no skill job. The fact that blizzard is literally giving them a years severance should be applauded. These are positions that the industry standard is exactly what I said it is.
 

Majinhoju

[H]ard|Gawd
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I suppose it could be worse, at least they are getting a severance.

It it sad to see what's happening to the company. Appeasing shareholders seems far more important to them than trying to actually appeal to their customers.
I gave BFA a try but just unsubbed and actually uninstalled all my Blizzard/Activision to free up some space on my sdd. WoW, Overwatch, Destiny 2 and D3 gone. I have little hope for this company.
 
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