Blizzard to shed 600 staffers

“World of Warcraft” creator Blizzard Entertainment, which had been immune from broad staff cuts throughout its 20-plus-year existence, announced plans Wednesday to slash 600 positions from its payroll.

Roughly 60 of those jobs will be game developers, with the rest coming from other divisions. While the company did not specify precisely where it will trim the extra workers, industry observers expect the majority to come from the customer-service unit.

Read more at Daily Variety

Activision-Blizzard Lays Off 600

Blizzard Entertainment, the creator of “World of Warcraft” and a substantial part of the video game industry’s largest publisher, announced plans Wednesday to lay off 600 employees.

The cuts, which generally come from areas other than game development, come as subscriber numbers for the hit online game have fallen substantially in recent quarters.

Read more at CNBC.com

Court: Activision’s case against EA can go forward

EA received some holiday coal in its stocking Thursday when a California Superior Court judge rejected its argument that it should be excused from a $400 million contract-interference suit.

Activision alleges EA illegally attempted to lure away Call of Duty creators and Infinity Ward founders Jason West and Vince Zampella. Activision is also suing the two developers.

Read more at Variety’s Technotainment blog

EA Takes to the ‘Battlefield’ Against Activision

There has never been a lot of love lost between Activision and Electronic Arts. The two video game publishers fight over just about everything.

But with Tuesday’s launch of EA’s “Battlefield 3,” the clash is taking on a particular sense of importance. At stake: The supremely profitable shooter genre – and possibly the fate of EA’s long-in-the-making turnaround.

Read more at CNBC.com

Activision Finds New Way to Monetize ‘Call of Duty’

“Call of Duty” might be the best selling franchise in the video game industry, but Activision-Blizzard is looking to double down on its earnings potential.

The company has unveiled a subscription-based online service called “Call of Duty: Elite” that will provide extra content for players, including map packs and social network functionality for players.

Read more at CNBC.com

Activision Doing More Than Scrapping ‘Guitar Hero’

While Wednesday’s announcement that Activision-Blizzard was pulling the plug on “Guitar Hero” might have turned heads in the gaming world, it was the company’s other announcement that might have bigger repercussions for investors.

As it cancelled games and the long-standing franchise, the publisher also announced plans to double down in the digital space and increase its focus on the lucrative “Call of Duty” franchise, two steps analysts say could significantly raise the company’s margins.

Read more at CNBC.com

Analysis: On BlizzCon And The Power Of Fanfests

[Ahead of BlizzCon, Gamasutra editor-at-large Chris Morris looks at the role of the fanfest in video games, talking to Blizzard COO Paul Sams about this weekend’s Anaheim event and its key role in Blizzard’s marketing and community relations.]

When 20,000 people converge on Anaheim this weekend for BlizzCon, their minds are likely to be on what items will be in their goodie bag and what sort of sneak peaks they’ll get at upcoming Blizzard Entertainment games.

For the folks at Blizzard, though, the event, now in its fifth year, is a critical piece of their marketing plan.

Read more at Gamasutra

Opinion: Why Activision & EA’s Feud Embarrasses The Game Industry

[In this Gamasutra editorial, editor-at-large and veteran game journalist Chris Morris looks at the escalating war of words between Electronic Arts and Activision – and the detrimental effects the dustup can have on the video game industry.]

There’s a reason politicians are so despised in this country. One party spends so much time squabbling over disagreements with the other party that everyone’s focus on their main job – ensuring the smooth running of the country – falls by the wayside.

It’s only fitting, then, that as the midterm elections near, the two biggest parties in the video game industry have decided to express their mutual loathing towards each other.

Read more at Gamasutra