2019 is looking to be a rough year for several companies in the industry, believe it or not. Some people may be finally getting tired of winning.
Last year several companies, including Activision Blizzard, reported record-high profits and seemed very certain about how successful they are. Strangely enough though, this success doesn’t seem to transfer back into the industry in the form of investment into making new games. Blizzard will reportedly not release any high-profile games in 2019. Save of course for Warcraft 3 remaster and the upcoming Diablo Immortal mobile game.
“We expect materially lower financial performance this year. 2018 benefited from the release of World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth, whereas we are not planning a major frontline release for 2019”- stated an anonymous contact in Activsion in a conversation with PC Gamer.
This coincides with massive lay-offs scheduled to hit imminently. According to various reports including one by Kotaku, Activision is looking to lay off ~8% of their employees. And with a company which boasts 9000 jobs, that’s about 800 people. Activision claims that these lay-offs will primarily affect community, e-sports and “other departments not directly involved with programming” but I’m not sure this is any consolation to people losing their jobs.
Curiously though, the Diablo team specifically is supposed to be expanded in order to work on those mysterious, as-of-yet unannounced Diablo projects that keep being mentioned, then denied and then mentioned again in a very weird thug of war game.
It also coincides with Activision’s CEO Bobby Kotick bragging about an incredibly successful year for the company and with Activsion hiring a new CFO, Dennis Durkin, on the back of $15 million bonus for accepting the job.
Last but not least, it also coincides with Bungie coming forward with a claim that the termination of their deal with Blizzard comes as a result of them “failing to meet financial expectations”.
Make of all of that what you will.