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Fears for Cork jobs as gaming company Blizzard notifies Government of potential redundancies


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Fears of job cuts have hit employees in Cork with video game developer, Blizzard Entertainment informing the Government of potential redundancies across its Irish operations. 

Located in Blackpool in Cork, Blizzard Entertainment employs more than 200 people, according to most recent filings to the Company Registration Office, with a significant number of those said to be at risk. 

Speaking to the Irish Examiner, a spokesperson for the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment said it “has received a collective redundancy notification in relation to potential redundancies at Blizzard Entertainment Ireland Limited.”

Established in Ireland in 2007, Blizzard Entertainment runs a support centre in Cork on behalf of fellow group entities in the Activision Blizzard Inc. group, with fears of major job cuts quickly prompted following its recent acquisition by tech giant Microsoft.

In October 2023, it took over the Call of Duty maker in a deal worth $69bn, marking the largest ever sale in the in the gaming industry.

Just a few months after the deal was finalised, Microsoft announced plans on Thursday to cut 1,900 staff across its video-game divisions including at Activision Blizzard which has offices in both Cork and Dublin. 

Across both locations, it is believed the group entities employ more than 400 people, half of which are in Cork. 

Speaking on Friday, the Gaming Workers Union, which is part of Ireland’s Financial Services Union (FSU) voiced concerns regarding Microsoft’s announcement, adding that it will “have a direct impact on jobs in Ireland with a significant amount of the Irish workforce in Activision Blizard at risk of redundancy.”

“This announcement is part of a worrying trend over the last two years of job losses in the wider technology sector and most recently in the games sector,” said Head of Industrial Relations and Campaigns at the FSU, Gareth Murphy.

“The rationale given by employers that these redundancies were a consequence of over hiring during covid does not stand up to scrutiny anymore.”

“We are on the third and fourth round of job cuts and it is time the Minister took a more proactive approach to saving jobs in the sector.”

In an email to staff sent this week, Microsoft gaming chief Phil Spencer wrote that the cuts represented about 8% of Microsoft’s 22,000 gaming workers.

“Together, we’ve set priorities, identified areas of overlap, and ensured that we’re all aligned on the best opportunities for growth,” the gaming chief wrote.

In particular, Blizzard Entertainment is also making big changes as part of the cuts, cancelling a survival game codenamed Odyssey and parting ways with President Mike Ybarra and Chief Design Officer Allen Adham, the company’s co-founder.

In a note to staff, Microsoft Studios President Matt Booty said that Ybarra “has decided to leave the company,” however in November, Ybarra said in an interview that he wanted to stay at the company for the long haul.

“Someone will drag me out of Blizzard,” he said. “That’s how long I will be here.”

First established in 1991, Blizzard Entertainment is headquartered in Irvine California and has developed several highly successful games including World of Warcraft, Diabolo and Overwatch. 

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