Activision Blizzard communicated to employees of the Blizzard offices in Versailles, near Paris in France, that the offices will be closed, ending the multinational's presence in the country.
The offices according to the latest available data housed approximately 400 employees, among those responsible for marketing, customer support, and localization of Activision and Blizzard games in Europe.
In reporting the news Bloomberg appointment sources inside Blizzard, who have asked to remain anonymous. Also from these sources, we learn that the original plan was to relocate at least half of the employees to London. But the combination of Brexit and the pandemic also wrecked this plan, leading to the total closure and layoff of employees.
The closure of the Versailles offices is also symbolic, as France played a crucial role in Blizzard's history. In fact, in 1998 the software house passed under the control of Vivendi, a French telecommunications conglomerate. During the period of French ownership, Blizzard released what are its most important hits to date. Games like Starcraft, Diablo II, Warcraft III and of course World of Warcraft. In 2008, Vivendi's Video Games section merged with Activision, only to split from Vivendi in 2013.
NEWS: Activision Blizzard is closing the long-running Blizzard office in Versailles, France, employees tell Bloomberg News. This comes after a restructuring and many months of turbulence Following mass layoffs in 2019. https://t.co/avAztpArEV
- Jason Schreier (@jasonschreier) October 6, 2020
The reasons behind the closure are to be found in a large project by corporate restructuring that Activision has been implementing in the Blizzard frameworks for the past two years. Despite the ostentatious independence that the creators of WoW flaunt, Activision is increasingly present in the company's strategic decisions.
Already last year the Versailles offices had lost 134 employees in the context of Activision's cost cutting across all its locations. After lengthy negotiations with the French government, the employees accepted a severance pay to leave the company.