Activision Blizzard has revealed that it will be laying off hundreds of members of staff despite seeing the best financial results in the company's history last year.
The news comes from the company's full-year earnings call, in which Activision Blizzard CEO, Bobby Kotick, shared the news that the company had “once again achieved record results in 2018".
Kotaku reports that, despite this apparent success, Kotick has noted that the company "didn’t realise [its] full potential" in a press release to investors, resulting in a decision to lay off 8% of its staff – a figure thought to be around 800 employees in total.
The layoffs will reportedly affect non-game-development areas of the business the most, with publishing and esports departments thought to be amongst those most heavily impacted. Seeing a company drive away its staff after achieving record profits is difficult to understand, but the move is even more concerning when remembering that, earlier this year, Activision Blizzard granted $15 million worth of awards to its new CFO.
As you can imagine, the news hasn't gone down well online.
The saddening report reminds us of stories surrounding Nintendo's entirely different approach to staff management issues just a few years ago. As you may remember, back in 2014 following disappointing financial results, then-president Satoru Iwata took a voluntary 50% salary cut while company board members took between 20-30% reductions, throwing that money back into the business itself.
Just months before this, Iwata had spoken of Nintendo's 'employee-first' approach, and how the wellbeing and security felt by its employees was more important than wiping contracts for the sake of better short-term results:
If we reduce the number of employees for better short-term financial results, employee morale will decrease, and I sincerely doubt employees who fear that they may be laid off will be able to develop software titles that could impress people around the world.
Clearly, corporations such as Nintendo and Activision couldn't be more different in their approaches; both companies produce quality content and are frontrunners of the gaming industry, but their cultural differences and care for employees couldn't be much further apart. Layoffs in the gaming industry are an all too common occurrence, but it certainly seems like some could be avoided.