In the wake of Activision Blizzard's announcement of sweeping layoffs to around 800 employees, there's even more uncertainty in Blizzard's office in Versailles, France. The 400 people who currently work there are currently waiting for news about whether they still have jobs, and because of French labor laws, they might have to wait several months before they find out if they're going to continue to be employed.
Activision Blizzard made headlines earlier this week when company CEO Bobby Kotick informed investors that the company had "once again achieved record results in 2018" before then announcing the company would be eliminating roughly 8% of its staff. The company said it would axe mainly non-game-development departments in a cost-cutting measure because some of the teams had swelled beyond what the company currently needed, despite Activision Blizzard becoming more profitable than ever. The company made $2.4 billion in revenue in 2018, and just hired a new CFO while giving him a $15 million signing bonus.
According to a report from Kotaku, in the wake of that devastating news, Blizzard's Versailles-based office informed its staff on Wednesday that 134 of its 400 positions would be "eliminated." For context, that would be a staggering 33.5% of employees losing their positions, more than a third of the French office's entire staff.
Removing those roles might not mean that the employees are out of jobs, however. There's a chance that some of the 134 employees who will be affected will be shuttled into different roles in the company. Apparently, though, rumors among those currently employed in Versailles suggest that they may be asked to take positions based in Blizzard's other European offices in Ireland or Netherlands. Obviously, moving to a new country to keep a job is not a luxury everyone can afford, so there's still concern even if most of the people who lose their current positions are offered replacements.
French labor laws make it hard for companies to lay people off immediately and without prior notification, so Blizzard's Versailles office is currently in limbo while watching their Irvine, California co-workers lose their jobs. Blizzard's Versailles office handles a number of different roles in Europe, including esports, a department that was affected heavily by the layoffs in North America. While being able to prepare for potential layoffs is a boon to the staff in Versailles, it's still an incredibly stressful time for employees who now have to decide how to proceed.
Our best wishes go out to all those affected by the latest round of layoffs in an industry that, despite being primarily about fun and entertainment, can be exceedingly cruel.