Activision will close its Blizzard Entertainment office in Versailles, France, according to a report by Bloomberg. It’s unclear how many people will be laid off and exactly when the France location will shutter.
Bloomberg’s sources said Activision Blizzard would inform employees more next week about the fate of the Versailles office and their jobs, and if relocation to another studio is a possibility. Bloomberg states that Activision Blizzard had originally intended to move half of the Versailles office to London, but Brexit and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic created risks that ultimately hindered the relocation process.
French labor laws, however, require companies to negotiate proper compensation for employees that wind up caught in mass layoffs.
Blizzard said that Versailles employees were told about a “proposed project” to reorganize the office. The company reiterated that supporting its employees during this difficult time is its main priority.
“Over the past year we have been exploring how we might best integrate our capabilities across the business, enabling us to better leverage talent, expertise and scale as we adapt to the needs of a fast-paced, highly-competitive, digitally focused industry,” Blizzard said in a statement. “In the context of our Versailles office, the management of Blizzard France has informed its employee representatives of a proposed project to reorganize its activities. Supporting our employees through this process is our number one priority. We are working through various processes related to this and a CSE meeting is scheduled for October 13th and 14th. Until then, as there is a prescribed legal process, we cannot provide further comment.”
The Versailles location is more of an assisting studio. It’s responsible for marketing, customer support, localization, and more.
While this may be the final blow, it isn’t the first hit to Blizzard’s Versailles office. In February 2019, the company wiped out 134 of its 400 positions. Last year also saw wider layoffs across Activision Blizzard, with employees at Activision, Blizzard, and mobile game company King affected. However, earlier this year the company said it planned to hire some 2,000 employees.
In August, employees at the company began anonymously sharing their salaries in protest of wage disparities. For reference, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick is one of the highest-paid executives in both video games and the entire entertainment industry, earning more than $30 million in 2019.
Activision Blizzard’s next games are Diablo IV and Overwatch 2 and with BlizzCon coming early next year, the company will undoubtedly show more of them then. For now, the company delayed the upcoming Shadowlands expansion for World of Warcraft to later this year.