Activision Blizzard esports division reportedly gutted by layoffs

New reports allege up to 80% of Activision Blizzard's esports division has been laid off.
Overwatch 2 Steam

Reports from across social media have indicated a secondary round of layoffs at Activision Blizzard has gutted the company’s esports division, with casters and managers alike sharing their redundancies on Twitter / X.

“They did it, they actually did it,” Scott Parkin, former senior manager of esports operations at Activision Blizzard said. “They let us work with that over our heads and laid us off on our first day off.” Parkin had spent the weekend in Boston corralling a Call of Duty League tournament, and had shared his excitement about the future of esports at Activision Blizzard on return.

Matt Morello, a popular esports caster, also took to social media to share his redundancy, indicating widespread layoffs at Activision Blizzard in his announcement post. “Unfortunately today, along with a lot of other amazing esports folks, I’ve been let go from Blizzard,” Morello said. “Casting Overwatch and working behind the scenes planning some of the best years we’ve had with Overwatch Esports and the upcoming year with the new OWCS was a dream come true.”

In addition to public-facing staff, it appears many folks who worked behind the scenes have also been impacted, with some camera operators and observer team members also let go.

Read: Blizzard Entertainment introduces new president, Johanna Faries

One source speaking to PC Gamer has indicated these cuts are part of the 1,900 layoffs initiated by Microsoft last week, and do not represent additional staff losses. They have also indicated that Microsoft and Activision Blizzard intend to continue supporting and growing the company’s esports leagues, albeit with major changes.

As of writing, the full scope of layoffs is unclear, although there are unconfirmed reports the layoffs may impact up to 80% of the company’s esports division.

At BlizzCon 2023, Activision Blizzard leaders enthused about the future of esports at the company, describing a “multi-year plan” for the Overwatch League designed to reward players.

“The thing that was true at launch is that the millions of people that come and play every day are there for the competitive game. They’re there for quick play, they’re there for competitive [play],” Jared Neuss, Overwatch 2 Executive Producer said at the time.

“Before we do anything else [and] before we focus on anything else, we really have to make sure that these people are supported, and make sure that we’re giving them the experience that we know that we can deliver and that they want.”

It’s unclear whether the reported layoffs were part of the long-term plan for the Overwatch 2 esports league, although it’s likely they will significantly change the terrain of esports at Activision Blizzard. Stay tuned for more on these developments.

Leah J. Williams is a gaming and entertainment journalist who's spent years writing about the games industry, her love for The Sims 2 on Nintendo DS and every piece of weird history she knows. You can find her tweeting @legenette most days.