Activision Blizzard Is Closing Its Versailles, France, Office

On Tuesday, Activision Blizzard Inc. informed staff in its Versailles, France office that the branch would be closing. The California-based video game publisher has offices all over the world, with the Versailles office alone employing an estimated 266 people. This office is responsible for marketing, customer support, and localizing games to different languages for titles published by the company in Europe.

According to internal sources, who wished to remain anonymous when speaking with Bloomberg, the company originally intended to relocate half of the office to London. However, Brexit and the COVID-19 pandemic have disrupted those plans. Although it is still uncertain how many people will be laid off or transferred, French labor laws require companies to offer substantial compensation packages for terminated employees.

The staff at the Versailles office is expected to receive more information next week, sources say. The company has yet to issue a statement regarding the matter. The office was originally used solely by Blizzard, the unit behind iconic games like Diablo and World of Warcraft. However, a recent restructuring relocated some Activision employees to the site.

Last year, Activision Blizzard laid off 8% of its workforce in non-management divisions. At the Versailles office, 134 employees were let go after months of negotiations with the French government over severance packages. In August, it was reported that Blizzard employees in the United States were organizing in company Slack chats in an effort to demand an increase in pay and improve working conditions.

Last spring, Activision Blizzard’s net revenues from digital channels reached $1.44 billion as a result of the growing demand for online games due to the COVID-19 lockdowns. The company has seen some major internal shifts in the time since, having announced that Daniel Alegre would replace Coddy Johnson as president of Activision-Blizzard effective April 7, with Johnson transitioning to a special advisory role. In addition, Michael Chu, lead writer on many of Blizzard’s franchises including Diablo, Warcraft, and Overwatch, announced he was leaving the company after 20 years in March 2020.

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