Evil Avatar

Evil Avatar (http://www.evilavatar.com/forums/index.php)
-   News Items (http://www.evilavatar.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=2)
-   -   Activision Blizzard Cuts 600 Jobs (http://www.evilavatar.com/forums/showthread.php?t=164632)

randir14 02-29-2012 11:39 AM

Activision Blizzard Cuts 600 Jobs
 

Reuters reports that Activision Blizzard has cut 600 jobs due to World of Warcraft's continuing loss of subscribers.

Quote:

Activision Blizzard, the largest U.S. video publisher, on Wednesday said it was cutting 600 jobs globally in the unit that makes Internet games including the company's most profitable property, "World of Warcraft," which has lost users in recent quarters.

Traditional video game companies like Activision and Electronic Arts have been trimming costs and releasing fewer games as the growth in the industry shifts toward free games on the Internet made by younger companies such as Zynga .

The layoffs will not have an effect on the company's financials this year and have already been included in the company's earnings forecast, Activision said in a statement.

"Their subscriber base for 'World of Warcraft' is getting smaller so they are adjusting their cost structure for that decline," said Sterne Agee analyst Arvind Bhatia.
Read more

SaintBlitzkrieg 02-29-2012 11:45 AM

Yet they are still probably making millions in profits.

lockwoodx 02-29-2012 11:46 AM

http://weknowmemes.com/wp-content/up...t-template.png

darkwarrior 02-29-2012 11:50 AM

Bet they didn't readjust Ol' Bobby's Wednesday bonus to keep a few people in work though.

lockwoodx 02-29-2012 11:53 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by darkwarrior (Post 2099626)
Bet they didn't readjust Ol' Bobby's Wednesday bonus to keep a few people in work though.

Agreed. When you read that the company who prints money is cutting jobs simply to "streamline" themselves.... it's always little people getting hurt so the CEOs can continue stirring their martinis with platinum swizzle sticks.

Cygnus 02-29-2012 12:14 PM

The goose is no longer laying golden eggs? No wonder kotick has a new gig.

gzsfrk 02-29-2012 12:27 PM

Cripes, way to reward the people who have made it possible for you to eat your gold-flake encrusted truffles, Kottick. Seriously--when a company is still turning a very healthy profit, it's disgusting for upper-management to simply sweep in and ruin hundreds of lives all in the name of "streamlining".

What a piece of complete and utter garbage Activision's red-headed wonder CEO is.

SaintBlitzkrieg 02-29-2012 12:31 PM

I dont see why they couldn't streamline while including these people.

DeadPixel 02-29-2012 12:32 PM

This is strange indeed, I would have expected them to reroute the forces towards their new MMO. It's hard to find and re-hire decent talent again, but maybe most of these jobs are for support/qa/customer service employees who don't really contribute to the development cycle.

DeadPixel 02-29-2012 12:34 PM

I take my message back, of course support/qa/customer service people contribute to the over-all picture. I was trying to say the people they selected were not key individuals that would be considered for new projects and with the old project dying out it's time to let them go. Every company goes through a clean-up period.

Coldeath 02-29-2012 12:36 PM

well it held in there for some time..but it's the circle of life

lockwoodx 02-29-2012 01:25 PM

and before anyone says "oh this is all on activision, blizzard are still saints" need I remind you that in order to inflate their numbers and attract activision in the first place, blizzard was counting all of those asian internet cafe customers as "subscribers", even if they only played for an hour and never came back.

Blizzard wanted the big bucks, and now they have to deal with the cold hard reality of what money does to people.

Sloth 02-29-2012 01:37 PM

Rather flimsy excuse to cut jobs. They act like WoW is on the verge of going under. It's probably 3x as profitable as the next highest grossing MMO.

Whimbrel 02-29-2012 01:57 PM

Wow, maybe there really is a mass exodus from all other MMO's to SWTOR. I thought that was just a rumor.

Roc Ingersol 02-29-2012 02:16 PM

WoW's customer service has always been dirt slow. If they were ever 'overstaffed' it must have happened in the last 6 months or so.

It seems more likely that someone's trying to protect profit growth by cutting cost centers.

I guess I can only keep on hoping I never actually need anything from the service department.

lockwoodx 02-29-2012 02:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Whimbrel (Post 2099679)
Wow, maybe there really is a mass exodus from all other MMO's to SWTOR. I thought that was just a rumor.

Until you play SWTOR or read their forums.

Dzog 02-29-2012 02:22 PM

This is good news... for the Gamers out there... maybe, just maybe, we can finally come out of this stagnate period of time of MMO's being the same old same old... crappy grinds... as much as I loved WoW, the first couple of years, I have come to the painful realization that WoW stifled the MMO market... in such a huge way....

I pray to the Videogame gods that we have a new Era filled with NEW and INVIGORATED MMO Designs that Master the Craft of innovation and design! :)

Agnostic Pope 02-29-2012 03:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by gzsfrk (Post 2099641)
Cripes, way to reward the people who have made it possible for you to eat your gold-flake encrusted truffles, Kottick. Seriously--when a company is still turning a very healthy profit, it's disgusting for upper-management to simply sweep in and ruin hundreds of lives all in the name of "streamlining".

What a piece of complete and utter garbage Activision's red-headed wonder CEO is.

History repeats itself. See Circuit City America's last stand against Worst Buy.

Rommel 02-29-2012 04:02 PM

I see nothing wrong with this--their work needs have lowered. Does everyone's job need to be protected until the employer goes out of business entirely? Are private organizations supposed to have employees, or wards?

MusicToEat 02-29-2012 04:22 PM

My, obviously limited, experience when submitting a ticket with 3 different MMO's

LOTRO: 15 minute wait
SWTOR: 5 minute wait
WOW: 2 day wait and then ticket mysteriously canceled with no contact

When you're the big kid on campus you can get away with terrible customer service, when you're hemorrhaging subscribers that's when you need to step it up, not cut it back.

surj0 02-29-2012 04:52 PM

Has nothing to do with free to play. WoW is built on gameplay that was archaic when it was released, and is simply no longer palatable for many. It's compounded by the complete destruction of their own lore, which up until recently was one of the biggest reasons I played. The Old Republic is going to hit this wall sooner than later as well; gameplay is dated, and only the "single player" story and lore keeps me interested.

joestein 02-29-2012 05:13 PM

You have to understand the way Activision looks at this. The board of Activision is under pressure to have constant increase in their revenue and profitability. WOW might be making huge money, but maybe the revenue is flat or trending downward. Many times mgmt will cut staff simply to try to offset flat or downward trending revenues. It is not about how great you are doing, but about how you will do as compared to last qtr or year. They consider anything but an increase to be negative.

Case in point... My wife has worked for Merrill Lynch for a long time. Back in the 90s they were making record profit every qtr (over a billion in profit per qtr), all of a sudden, they had 2 qtrs that did not set new records. Profits were still very high (like 800 or 900 million for the qtr), but not increasing. The result: they laid off something like 50,000 people worldwide.

This is just how large corporations operate.

Joe

Anenome 02-29-2012 05:25 PM

When WoW finally goes down, will probably be good for the industry.

PopoWRX 02-29-2012 06:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by joestein (Post 2099734)
You have to understand the way Activision looks at this. The board of Activision is under pressure to have constant increase in their revenue and profitability. WOW might be making huge money, but maybe the revenue is flat or trending downward. Many times mgmt will cut staff simply to try to offset flat or downward trending revenues. It is not about how great you are doing, but about how you will do as compared to last qtr or year. They consider anything but an increase to be negative.

Case in point... My wife has worked for Merrill Lynch for a long time. Back in the 90s they were making record profit every qtr (over a billion in profit per qtr), all of a sudden, they had 2 qtrs that did not set new records. Profits were still very high (like 800 or 900 million for the qtr), but not increasing. The result: they laid off something like 50,000 people worldwide.

This is just how large corporations operate.

Joe

You hit the nail on the head. Large companies need to see upward growth, even the private company I work with. If the arrow is not going up and stagnates, thats when they start cost-cutting. Pretty much how large companies operate and Blizzard sits at that big boy table now so its par for the course.

Whimbrel 02-29-2012 06:35 PM

Speaking of which....http://www.amazon.com/Star-Wars-Old-...6487436&sr=8-5

Anenome 02-29-2012 07:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by PopoWRX (Post 2099752)
You hit the nail on the head. Large companies need to see upward growth, even the private company I work with. If the arrow is not going up and stagnates, thats when they start cost-cutting. Pretty much how large companies operate and Blizzard sits at that big boy table now so its par for the course.

You guys are missing the bigger picture though.

It's not like cutting employees is the first step if you want to show more profit or something. Modern accounting allows for all sorts of ways to play with your end profitability.

Showing profits isn't actually as important as showing smooth profits year-to-year. A chaotic profit&loss history is more scary to investors than even changes over time.

And even changes over time are actually easier to create by reigning in profits and making them look like not-profits for the year, then shifting profitability into later years when you need it, thus smoothing out profitability. Lots of these schemes involve repatriating profits when needed, taking charges on highly-profitable years, manipulating LIFO and FIFO, etc., etc., etc.

A good accountant can make a profitable year look like a year you took a loss in and vice versa, depending on what the execs decide they need. And the larger the company the easier it is to make these sorts of decisions.

So, if you ask me, knowing that firing actual employees is one of the very last things you would consider when you're low on net income, because employees are how you make money, either ATVI has been manipulating past years' financials to make themselves look more profitable than they really were and now it's gotten really bad such that they've had to take the drastic step of firing hundreds of employees,

...or, more likely, the people fired weren't productive people. Not games programmers or something. And thus, expendable now that the company is feeling the squeeze. Or maybe they're outsourcing something like tech support, or getting ready to buy a company that replaces an entire division. We don't really know enough.

Cygnus 02-29-2012 07:52 PM

Wow...you are either naive or the ultimate company man...sheeesh

Quote:

Originally Posted by Anenome (Post 2099766)
You guys are missing the bigger picture though.

It's not like cutting employees is the first step if you want to show more profit or something. Modern accounting allows for all sorts of ways to play with your end profitability.

Showing profits isn't actually as important as showing smooth profits year-to-year. A chaotic profit&loss history is more scary to investors than even changes over time.

And even changes over time are actually easier to create by reigning in profits and making them look like not-profits for the year, then shifting profitability into later years when you need it, thus smoothing out profitability. Lots of these schemes involve repatriating profits when needed, taking charges on highly-profitable years, manipulating LIFO and FIFO, etc., etc., etc.

A good accountant can make a profitable year look like a year you took a loss in and vice versa, depending on what the execs decide they need. And the larger the company the easier it is to make these sorts of decisions.

So, if you ask me, knowing that firing actual employees is one of the very last things you would consider when you're low on net income, because employees are how you make money, either ATVI has been manipulating past years' financials to make themselves look more profitable than they really were and now it's gotten really bad such that they've had to take the drastic step of firing hundreds of employees,

...or, more likely, the people fired weren't productive people. Not games programmers or something. And thus, expendable now that the company is feeling the squeeze. Or maybe they're outsourcing something like tech support, or getting ready to buy a company that replaces an entire division. We don't really know enough.


Mazzicc 02-29-2012 08:15 PM

I enjoy how everyone on the internet is always an expert on an issue. It's so fun to see the leading minds in a field argue about why things are done a certain way or how they should have been done.

oh, and for those of you who happen not to be experts in sarcasm, now you are. that was a single example. see how easy it is to become an expert?

vallor 02-29-2012 10:00 PM

First, I believe it was an Analyst that suggested declining WoW subscriptions was the cause; this was not officially confirmed.

Second: there are a lot of other reasons in game development that you'd cut staff as a cost cutting step or as an augment to a cost cutting strategy. As was mentioned the employees could have been redundent like (unfortunately) QA tends to be after a big product ships or during a product draught, or the Art team as more and more art is outsourced to Asia or Eastern Europe.

That said, 600 people seems like it is *a lot*. I am betting with that many positions cut it impacted people in just about every discipline though, in general, programmers tend to be a protected species (hear that kids? If you want to succeed in Game Development get your computer science degree).

Anenome 02-29-2012 10:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cygnus (Post 2099768)
Wow...you are either naive or the ultimate company man...sheeesh

Not really. I'm just talking about why a company might do what they've done, and how an exec looks at profitability and how it can be manipulated. I made no value judgments as to whether I think that's a good state of affairs or not, so you can't possibly call me a 'company man.' I'm not apologizing for Blizzard or ATVI in the slightest.

Anenome 02-29-2012 10:34 PM

Blizzard laying off 600

Quote:

The company noted that 10 percent of its staff cuts--or about 60 people--were actively involved in game development...

Blizzard was quick to point out that the World of Warcraft development team will not be impacted by the staff reductions.

"Constant evaluation of teams and processes is necessary for the long-term health of any business," said Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime. "Over the last several years, we've grown our organization tremendously and made large investments in our infrastructure in order to better serve our global community. However, as Blizzard and the industry have evolved we've also had to make some difficult decisions in order to address the changing needs of our company."

Blizzard went on to note that its development and publishing schedule has not been impacted by the staff cuts. Currently, the company expects to announce a release date for Diablo III in the near future, indicating that development on the game is nearing completion. The company is also at work on the WOW expansion Mists of Pandaria, Blizzard DOTA, and Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm.

At last month's DICE Summit, Blizzard EVP of product development Frank Pearce indicated that the company's global workforce stood at 4,700 employees.

Cygnus 02-29-2012 10:38 PM

Wow..nice way to backtrack from the cliched corporate-speak from before... :rolleyes: BTW saying "if you ask me" shows you are given your opinion and "more likely, the people fired weren't productive people" shows bias...so a whopping 600 people suddenly were not "productive"? Surely you are basing this from reading their prior performance reviews :rolleyes:

Quote:

Originally Posted by Anenome (Post 2099783)
Not really. I'm just talking about why a company might do what they've done, and how an exec looks at profitability and how it can be manipulated. I made no value judgments as to whether I think that's a good state of affairs or not, so you can't possibly call me a 'company man.' I'm not apologizing for Blizzard or ATVI in the slightest.


Anenome 02-29-2012 10:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cygnus (Post 2099792)
Wow..nice way to backtrack from the cliched corporate-speak from before... :rolleyes: BTW saying "if you ask me" shows you are given your opinion and "more likely, the people fired weren't productive people" shows bias...so a whopping 600 people suddenly were not "productive"? Surely you are basing this from reading their prior performance reviews :rolleyes:

The 'if you ask me portion' attempted to give rationale for why it might have happened. That's still not a values question anymore than me explaining why the Challenger may have exploded would tell you anything about whether I support NASA.

Calling them 'unproductive' certainly is a reach though. If I can expand, it would be more correct to call them marginally productive, in the sense that each employee you add decreases your productive potential, to the point that you aren't seeing large gains by adding more employees on a single project.

In the later press report, we learn that Blizzard has 'grown tremendously' in recent years, and if they've decided to level off hiring, it's possible that people hired for a planned project that got canned could have been 86'd, as 600 seems like a lot, nearly 12% of their workforce! That requires an above-average explanation.

So on the one hand, I rejected the idea that Blizzard fired people simply to appear more profitable (my first post), based on my understanding of executive-level accounting and ATVI's profitability overall. And later offered an inductive explanation, but there are many such explanations possible. A cancelled project could be a very good explanation.

All we know is, no one on the WoW team got fired, some 60 people on the Diablo team did get fired. What does that tell us. Who on the Diablo team is even fireable? Game testers? Pre-production people? Hard to say.

Cygnus 02-29-2012 11:50 PM

According to the reuters article, WoW lost 700K subs in the 3rd quarter and subs "steadily decline in recent quarters". Thus it is possible that management may have been overly optimistic with projected subs and over hired in the past. I think its safer to reason that. SWOTOR may have taken some of WoW subs. Activ has a reputation of slashing jobs. Recall how they cut hundreds of jobs about a year or 2 ago with neversoft and bizarre creations. BTW I wouldn't say FIFO, LIFO, etc executive-level accounting, that is basic stuff.

AlfredT 02-29-2012 11:51 PM

It seems to be a very unjustifiable decision considering the success of their business, their aesthetic in game item RMT monopoly and the status of their current subscribers. It becomes downright boggling when you think of the cuts being specially in customer service/QA, with a wow Xpac, Diablo 3, Starcraft Xpacs and other IPs coming out soon.

blackzc 02-29-2012 11:55 PM

Why do any of you care? And why do any of you care enough to get all sandy vagina'd enough to turn all hippie? Why make these people out to be victims. They can go start a business or get another job.

If i get fired from my mid card job at blizzard and i end up homeless, im doing it wrong and using a job i stupidly though was always going to be there as an excuse to be a lazy asshole.

Hey! Screw you guys!

Anenome 03-01-2012 12:11 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cygnus (Post 2099800)
According to the reuters article, WoW lost 700K subs in the 3rd quarter and subs "steadily decline in recent quarters".

Is that net, or is that total losses ignoring new subs. I assume the former?

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cygnus (Post 2099800)
Thus it is possible that management may have been overly optimistic with projected subs and over hired in the past.

A reasonable assumption.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cygnus (Post 2099800)
BTW I wouldn't say FIFO, LIFO, etc executive-level accounting, that is basic stuff.

I assure you they are important exec-level decisions. Actually implementing them are basic accounting level, sure, but they can be used to manipulate yearly profitability on a mass scale.

Let's say you're selling steel. You buy at X price. You've got three years of stock. The stuff you bought on year 1 is much cheaper than the stuff you bought on year 3. If you want to bring profits down, you can go LIFO and show much lower profits, because you're costing against much higher stock. If you want to artificially inflate profits, you can switch to FIFO and start calculating profits against the year 1 stock which will give you a far higher profitability number.

In essence, you've been overpurchasing stock in order to give you the ability to manipulate your profitability figures.

This sort of thing is just the tip of the iceberg and goes on all the time. The next step is deciding when you want to write off expenses and the like.

Strider 03-01-2012 01:12 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by joestein (Post 2099734)
You have to understand the way Activision looks at this. The board of Activision is under pressure to have constant increase in their revenue and profitability. WOW might be making huge money, but maybe the revenue is flat or trending downward. Many times mgmt will cut staff simply to try to offset flat or downward trending revenues. It is not about how great you are doing, but about how you will do as compared to last qtr or year. They consider anything but an increase to be negative.

You are absolutely right. And this ruins everything imo. The people, the product...
For one, there's only so much money to make with anything. If it runs well, be happy - but no, as you say there has to be a steady increase. There was a time this was called greed. Now it's being profitable and growing.

Apex 03-01-2012 01:38 AM

No development roles have been cut. Apparently its all support staff, sounds like they are trimming the fat and cutting back on some luxuries.

Primernova 03-01-2012 04:15 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Apex (Post 2099810)
No development roles have been cut. Apparently its all support staff, sounds like they are trimming the fat and cutting back on some luxuries.

60 devs got the boot in this "fat trimming" if the leaked numbers are accurate.

At the end of the day, it doesn't matter. This kind of behavior is why the free market is under such fire. The idea that profit is the goal has completely degenerated into, bottom line for the top brass. So they fuck the staff and customers that got it for them, if it wavers in the slightest or if they can find a path to more profit by slicing off heads all while dipping in quality and charging more. It's sick and should be criminal, they flying in the face of capitalism, because we are letting them. If you have to cut staff to save your company, that's another story but what's the last time that has happened?

WoW lost nearly 2 million subscribers because Cata sucked balls. The lead developer, Greg Street is a complete idioit and I'm fairly certain he was not one of the 60 to get fired; a crying shame and I have a candle lit hoping he did, or is killed by wolves in the near future. Those 600 people are just sacrifical lambs, at the feet of idioits and do nothings.


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 12:44 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.