Blizzard Entertainment issued a press release to announce the reduction of workforce around the world. A headline like this could scare fans to the bone, but don't worry. Only 10% of the layoffs were from the development teams, and it won't affect or delay Diablo III, or the other games' development.
While not specified, one might guess among the 90% of the staff laid off are Game Masters (GMs), Office staff, Marketing Services, Quality Assurance Testers, IT Techs, and that sort of positions -- which are not critical to the core development of video games. It's also unknown what the position of 10% of these developers layoff (around 50-60) are.
The highlight of the press release is Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime mentioning the dev teams are currently working hard to enter beta testing phase for Mists of Pandaria, Blizzard DOTA and Heart of the Swarm. No ETA was revealed, but seems 2012 will be fun.
Update: The Creative Development and Asset Services were among some developer departments to have some layoffs. As someone who has been suffering unemployment for a long while, I sincerely wish you the best finding a new job soon.
IRVINE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. today announced that it has conducted a review of its business based on current organizational needs. Following a completion of the review, the company is conducting a global reduction in workforce of approximately 600 employees. The company anticipates approximately 90% of the affected employees will come from departments not related to game development. The World of Warcraft® development team will not be impacted.
“Constant evaluation of teams and processes is necessary for the long-term health of any business. 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,” said Mike Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment. “Knowing that, it still does not make letting go of some of our team members any easier. We’re grateful to have had the opportunity to work with the people impacted by today’s announcement, we’re proud of the contributions they made here at Blizzard, and we wish them well as they move forward.”
Blizzard's current development and publishing schedules will not be impacted. The company will announce specific release plans for Diablo® III in the near future, and it’s continuing to drive aggressively toward beta testing for World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria™, Blizzard DOTA, and StarCraft® II: Heart of the Swarm™. Blizzard also remains committed to maintaining its high standards of quality for customer service delivery. In addition, Blizzard is still recruiting and looking to hire qualified developers for a number of open positions. Further details are available at http://jobs.blizzard.com.
UPDATE: Bashiok posted a letter from Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime with more comprehensive detail of the situation over at the official forums:
We announced today that we’re in the process of cutting a number of active positions, mostly non-development, throughout the company. I'm sure this announcement has sparked some questions from all of you, so I want take this opportunity to address those as best I can. Over the past several years, the company has grown rapidly and evolved to better serve you and the rest of our global community. Thanks to all of your support, we continue to serve by far the biggest subscription-based MMO community, as well as the most passionate eSports and online gaming communities, in the world.
In order to keep making epic game content while serving players effectively, we have to be smart about how we manage our resources. This means we sometimes have to make difficult decisions about how to best maintain the health of the company. We’re in the process of making some of those hard decisions now.
After evaluating our current organizational needs, we determined that while some areas of our business had been operating at the right levels and could benefit from further growth, other areas had become overstaffed. As a result, we need to scale down some of our departments and part with some of our colleagues and friends here at Blizzard. I know that you all understand how difficult this type of situation can be for anyone who might be affected, so I want to assure you that we'll be offering each impacted employee a severance package and other benefits.
I also want to emphasize that we remain committed to shipping multiple games this year, and that our development teams in particular remain largely unaffected by today's announcement. We're continuing to develop, iterate, and polish Blizzard DOTA, Diablo III, StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm, World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria, as well as other, unannounced projects. We'll have exciting news to share in the coming weeks regarding Diablo III's release date, and will soon be holding a private media event to showcase the latest work on Mists of Pandaria. It goes without saying that we're working hard to get all of these games in your hands as soon as possible.
You've all come to expect Blizzard to live up to our mission statement with every game, and deliver the most epic entertainment experiences ever. You can continue to expect that and nothing less from us as we move forward.