Blizzard is one of the most respected game development companies in the industry but recently people have begun to question if something is wrong considering World of Warcraft, the biggest MMO in the world, lost 2 million subscribers in a year. Now today Blizzard has made the announcement that they will be laying off 600 people ”[anticipating] approximately 90% of the affected employees will come from departments not related to game development.”
Here is the official statement from Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime about the major layoffs:
“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.”
Even though most of these layoffs will not be in the game development departments, 600 people is still a huge number of people to let go at one time. Not to mention that even if only ten percent of the people being let go are in the video game development department, that is still 60 people in that department being released.
I would guess that Blizzard is just restructuring but it is still worrisome considering the loss of 2 million WOW subscribers in a year and the lukewarm reception the newest World of Warcraft expansion Mists of Pandaria received.