Activision-Blizzard Draws Flak For Laying Off Employees While CEO Gets $200 Million Payout

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Though we may be on an upswing, the COVID-19 pandemic will have rippling effects across many industries in the coming months, and even years. One such effect is the loss of in-person events and shifts en masse to online interactions. It appears that Activision-Blizzard, however, sees this as the way forward rather than a stop-gap measure. As such, the company has laid off an estimated 190 employees, with 50 of them charged with handling live eSports events. While those employees get their severance, CEO Bobby Kotick is set to receive a $200 million payout.

A company spokesperson explained the layoffs yesterday, stating, "Players are increasingly choosing to connect with our games digitally and the e-sports team, much like traditional sports, entertainment and broadcasting industries, has had to adapt its business due to the impact the pandemic has had on live events."

Bobby Kotick
CEO Bobby Kotick

The fired employees will be given a healthy 90 days of severance, health insurance for a year, and a $200 gift card to Battle.NET, which is a bit of an insult. In any case, this news comes at the same time that CEO Bobby Kotick will be receiving an approximate $200 million payout for a "Shareholder Value Creation Incentive," as reported by GameSpot. This is because the game company's share price has increased roughly 66% since 2019. As a result, Kotick will receive payments dating back to 2017.

While the two events are likely unrelated, it is certainly rough timing for the employees who are now out of a job. Moreover, while live events are on hold for now, people will likely want to get back to in-person sporting events as soon as things begin to open up. In any case, we will have to see what happens when COVID-19 slinks away; hopefully soon. Also, do you think Activision-Blizzard is right with its outlook? Let us know in the comments below.