By Liana ‘LiLi’ Ruppert
– December 22, 2018
Ever since Diablo-gate earlier this year with the controversial Immortal announcement, there’s been a glaring spotlight on Blizzard and its relationship with Activision. Concerns over Activision’s influence continue to rise, made worse by recent financial issues brought to light.
In light of recent reports saying that Blizzard has found itself in a unique financial bind, sources came forward recently to talk about an ongoing buyout offer that seems to be the talk of the studio. These anonymous inside sources have told Eurogamer that the buyouts are coming from the main European customer service sect in Ireland, and that those that accepted the offer are leaving this month.
“It was too good to pass up,” said one person that accepted the buyout to the site. “This is voluntary, do not get me wrong. But when you see a pile a cash in front of you, over and over again, you start to lose hope and cannot see a great situation ahead.”
This has stirred up the community fears about what the Activision and Blizzard partnership means for Blizzard’s reputation – a reputation that has always been about the gaming community. In light of those fears growing, a Blizzard representative told Eurogamer that they are not encouraging staff to take these buyouts, despite previous reports, and have offered this voluntary option for a long time now.
“Our players are at the heart of everything we do and should continue to expect the same award-winning level of service from Blizzard today as they have received in the past,” said the Blizzard representative, adding that this move will not affect the quality gamers have come to expect from Blizzard, and that nothing negative should be felt regarding these decisions. Additionally, they mentioned that the Irish location would “continue to be an important part of our customer support service in Europe.”
This all comes on the heels of an earlier report that finances are indeed a concern for the publisher. “You would’ve thought Blizzard was going under and we had no money,” one former Blizzard employee told Kotaku. “The way every little thing was being scrutinized from a spend perspective. That’s obviously not the case. But this was the very first time I ever heard, ‘We need to show growth.’ That was just so incredibly disheartening for me.”
Similar instances have come to light where several employees have left the company over concerns of Activision’s influence. “We are being told to spend less at every corner because we have no new IP. Because Overwatch set this bar of how much we could earn in a single year, there’s a ton of pressure from Activision to get shit moving. They want something to show shareholders.”
With Co-Founder Mike Morhaime having stepped down earlier this year right before the famous BlizzCon celebration, a lot of members of the Blizzard community are left feeling confused about a company that usually feels so familiar.
What are your thoughts on the various reports about the state of the company? Join in on the conversation in the comment section below, or hit me up over on Twitter @DirtyEffinHippy!