Blizzard lays off 600, vast majority not involved with development

Blizzard logoBlizzard Entertainment announced today that it's reducing the size of its worldwide workforce by 600 employees, a massive decrease for a company that reported 4,600 employees as recently as 2009. However, approximately 90 percent of the reduction will come from areas not directly related to game development, according to the company, limiting the impact on current projects.

"Constant evaluation of teams and processes is necessary for the long-term health of any business," Blizzard president and CEO Mike Morhaime said in a statement. "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."

In a post on the company's forums Morhaime also stressed that the company "remain[s] committed to shipping multiple games this year," including Diablo 3, Blizzard DOTA, expansions for Starcraft 2 and World of Warcraft, "as well as other unannounced projects." Morhaime also promised further news on Diablo 3's oft-delayed release date "in the coming weeks."

Vox Games cites an unnamed former Blizzard employee in reporting that the reduction was likely focused on the customer service department, which has reportedly been streamlined thanks to automation of many common support tasks.

The company may also be responding to slowly declining subscriber numbers for its flagship World of Warcraft MMO, which have fallen from a peak of over 12 million subscribers in late 2010 to 10.2 million reported earlier this month.

Source: Ars Technica

Tags: Blizzard, computer games, Diablo III

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