The morale at Blizzard is heading downward in a hurry, following several anecdotes from employees over the past week. Actually, maybe “in a hurry” isn’t entirely accurate; things started going downhill following the layoffs in early 2019 after Activision-Blizzard had a record quarter. Matters have only been exacerbated since, following the Blitzchung incident and its messy and poorly handled aftermath, to the point that investors are calling for a reduction in CEO Bobby Kotick’s compensation. So yeah, maybe things have been heading south for a while now.
The latest shot across the bow came when a number of Blizzard employees shared their salary data with one another to highlight the inequity in pay and recent raises. Some employees have had to skip meals or pack bag lunches to avoid the costs of the company cafeteria, while another said that they and their spouse wouldn’t be able to afford having children.
Now, even more accusations are coming to light. One former employee said that, in lieu of proper cost-of-living raises, employees received “game keys and swag,” including 25 years’ worth of paid subscription time. Others were demeaned as being “easily replaceable” and told that they should be “thankful to still have a job.” Even Daybreak Game Company looked good in comparison, which should tell you something.
All in all, it’s not a good look for the company, but, as we’ve said before, will it really matter to the bottom line? That hasn’t been the case in the short term, but as talented individuals either leave the company or choose to not go there, it could have significant effects down the road. None of that likely matters to people like Kotick, who’s more than financially secure for life. Other senior developers who make good — if not counted in the millions — money are probably also content. But it wouldn’t be surprising to see more delays or faulty products hit the market as the rank and file grow increasingly disgruntled or abandon the company altogether.