Blizzard's financial status appears to be a little more precarious than you believe, according to Overwatch's extraordinary performance. The first hints have recently surfaced when the company killed the eSports page for their beloved MOBA title, "Heroes of the Storm," but a recent Kotaku report provides more details on the matter.
According to sources close to Blizzard, related sources For Kotaku writer Jason Schreier on the condition of anonymity, Blizzard has introduced a unique cost-cutting program called "Career Crossroads". In short, selected employees can voluntarily leave the company with a "healthy" pay-out in their pocket.
Blizzard's main reason for this program is that it allows employees to explore other non-donor career opportunities ̵
Until recently, however, this program was relatively small and had only "veteran" customer service staff, but now the program is being expanded to QA and IT – two of the key departments of a game development studio.
"Over the past year, Blizzard has been actively seeking creative ways to reduce costs that are not negatively affecting the press," one of Kotaku's sources said in a statement, although we can not verify this claim for ourselves it's credible – the Career Crossroads company is a win-win for everyone involved, and as the source suggests, it's unlikely to anger journalists or the public, and it allows Blizzard to retain some of its surplus employees without mass layoffs
Whether good or bad, Career Crossroads is not the only one play for a profit-first mentality within the Blizzard headquarters.
Several current and former Blizzard developers have told Kotaku that more and more decisions are being made by business, marketing and finance teams rather than creative professionals. "There is a real fight between developers and business people," said one source.
The controversy surrounding Blizzard's announcement of his upcoming mobile title "Diablo: Immortal" might be an example of this fight. Mobile games are the next gold rush for many AAA developers, and Immortal is exactly the kind of project manager who loves business-oriented games: it will undoubtedly cost far less than produce a full Diablo sequel, and it's likely to be a result achieves more audience.
However, the development of the game is also being further developed into the Chinese studio NetEase, which means that Blizzard's internal developers have less impact on direction, monetization, and overall quality. Few of this information has been officially endorsed by Blizzard. Therefore, we recommend our readers to include Kotaku's report with a healthy dose of skepticism.