Blizzard Entertainment’s planned layoff of 600 people will largely bypass its development teams. Though the Activision unit says only 10 percent of the cuts will impact developers, it’s hiring for “a number of open development positions.”
Release plans for Diablo III will be announced soon, and Blizzard’s “driving aggressively” toward beta testing of World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria, Blizzard DOTA and StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm. The company specifically says the WoW team will be left in place.
Some observers say the cuts are more about streamlining the company’s structure than problems with the business. The investment website Seeking Alpha believes that the fact developers are largely being left alone “implies that the majority of the layoffs are to simplify the management structure of Blizzard to make it a more effective, efficient, and successful.”
Not that there’s any comfort there for those involved hit by the “simplifying.” Based on the company’s 2011 financial reports, Seeking Alpha believes previous restructurings were also more about evolution than bad business results.