Blizzard lays off 600 staff

World Of Warcraft developer Blizzard Entertainment has confirmed that it is to lay off 600 staff.

The cuts, which affect Blizzard's worldwide operations and mean a reduction in headcount of around 12 per cent – the company has 5,000 employees, according to VentureBeat – are largely in administration and sales, with Blizzard saying only 10 per cent of the planned layoffs affect its game development teams.

CEO Mike Morhaime said: "Over the last several years, we've grown our organisation tremendously and made large investments in our infrastructure in order to better serve our global community. However, as Blizzard and the industry have evolved we've also had to make some difficult decisions in order to address the changing needs of our company.

"Knowing that, it still does not make letting go of some of our team members any easier. We're grateful to have had the opportunity to work with the people impacted by today's announcement, we're proud of the contributions they made here at Blizzard, and we wish them well."

The layoffs, which Blizzard insists will not impact its development schedule, make sense for the company given that World Of Warcraft subscriber numbers fell from 12 million in 2010 to 10.2 million at the end of December 2011, a drop of 15 per cent.