World of Warcraft, Devil, Starcraft … These classics occupy a special place in the hearts of countless video game fans. These are titles that have marked the history of this industry. Thanks to them, Blizzard Entertainment went from being a project of three young American graduates to become one of the largest companies in the world of video game development and distribution .
In 2008, Blizzard and Activision merged to form Activision Blizzard , with the goal of becoming the undisputed industry leaders. Ten years later, Activision seems to have more power than ever, leading the decisions of both studies. Blizzard is now submerged in a crisis at different levels that affects both its games and its employees, as well as its value on the stock market.
A more than complicated situation
The most reliable indicator that this crisis really exists is the stock market result. The stock price of Activision Blizzard (ATVI) is in free fall since October 2018 . The American company is in its worst figure in the last two years, because of the decisions that have been made in recent months.
The resounding dismissals and resignations of their work teams, the lack of connection with their users and the corporatist direction that the study is taking recently, are the major factors that have led to this situation. To all this, we must add the odd scandal, such as the recent one with Jules Murillo, a Blizzard worker who complained about the racist and discriminatory treatment he suffered in the company and that led him to attempt suicide.
New directive, cuts in expenses and personnel
Precisely in October of that year, when the shares began to fall, was when Mike Morhaime, co-founder and president of Blizzard, left his post . Although the exact reasons are hidden, everything points to that he was pressured by Activision , which increasingly has more power to decide on his sister company. J. Allen Brack, former executive producer of World of Warcraft, now occupies the chair in which Morhaime sat for more than 20 years.
Another very popular news was the departure of two of Blizzard’s financial directors . The first of them, Spencer Neumann , left the company to enter Netflix. For her part, Amrita Ahuja is now working at the Square mobile payments company, after eight years with Blizzard. According to the website Kotaku, Ahuja was responsible for the big cuts in expenses that the company is suffering, something that is criticized by its own workers.
These cuts have affected all types of departments. The most notorious case has been the departure of more than 100 customer service workers from the European offices in Cork, Ireland, in exchange for a certain sum of money. To this are added several dismissals in sections such as the Overwatch League, where they did not renew the production team or Matt West, the content manager.
The plan proposed by Amrita Ahuja before leaving was based on cutting all possible expenses, but producing more games than ever. If they continue on that path, Blizzard could lose its charm.