Blizzard has finally announced their mass layoff plans for 2012. It was done through both an official News Release and as a message on the Battle.net forums.
According to their release, Blizzard's savings from the layoffs were identified in their Feb 9, 2012 (Q4 2011) financial outlook, but the exact details of the workforce reduction were not considered material or important for the shareholders call. :)
Blizzard did not identify when the business review was conducted, only that it would benefit their 2012 financials and that they are currently involved in the global reduction of their workforce which will eventually result in a total of approximately 600 employees being laid off.
90% of the 600 are those in support function, finance, maintenance, recruiting, training, and other non-development related positions. The other 10% are gaming development related and we already know the names of some of those employees.
If you weren't already aware, I do still continuously update older posts and I was monitoring those Mass Layoff "rumors" up until late January.
Many of the employees from my original suspicion list were eventually confirmed and in the end, there were probably about 40-50 layoffs in late 2011 to early 2012. Most of them were Customer Support staff from both in and outside of their call centers.
I guess we finally have an answer as to why Blizzard was so ambiguous, but not exactly denying, those mass lay off rumors a few months ago.
Zarhym: The vast majority named in that article are at work today. FB profiles can't be used to confirm anything, especially a mass trend!Layoffs of this magnitude have happened with Activision Blizzard many times in the past, and they typically happen around January/February (announced before the shareholders call.)
Bashiok: Hey guys, out of respect for their privacy, we don’t discuss individual employees, but the speculation circulating about ‘massive layoffs at Blizzard’ is just a rumor.
So, it shouldn't be much of a shock if you see this happen again next February (probably a smaller size though, and more on the Activision side.) The staff they're cutting are just redundant positions (mostly customer support), so these changes won't effect the development times of their games and it just means more savings for the company and happier investors.