Happy Wednesday, gaming lovelies! Not surprisingly, there’s snow in the New England forecast, so I’m in search of the red hot gaming news to keep me toasty. Thankfully, there’s plenty of it and even more with the New York Toy Fair this weekend. Grab a cup of something warm and let’s see what trouble we can get into!

Melissa Brinks also contributed news items to this roundup.

Massive Layoffs at Activision Blizzard

Rumors of layoffs at Activision Blizzard have been circling for some time, but a note from Blizzard president J. Allen Brack on February 12 confirmed that they would be taking place. In an earnings call, Activision Blizzard confirmed 8 percent of staff would be eliminated, or around 800 employees.

In the note, Brack outlined that employees would be receiving severance packages, an extension of their health benefits, career counseling, and job placement assistance. This is in stark contrast to Telltale’s layoffs late last year, where many employees were spontaneously laid off with no severance or health benefits whatsoever.

The same day, Activision Blizzard released their earnings report, demonstrating a rise in revenue. However, Activision CEO Bobby Kotick said that the company didn’t reach its full potential, likely in reference to some Wall Stree analysts’ predictions that the company would reach revenue of $3.04 billion during the holiday season—in fact, the company reached revenue of $2.84 billion. The earnings report also confirmed that shareholders would see a nine percent increase in their payments. Kotick referred to 2018’s financial results as “the best in our history.” 

Still, it must be noted that Kotick made over $28 million in 2017, which is over 300 times the average Activision employee salary—and that’s after a pay cut.

A screenshot of some of Apex Legends' character designs.

Apex Legends Hits 25 Million Signups in One Week

That’s right battle royale fans, the newly released Apex Legends posts incredible numbers in week one. While that’s newsworthy on its own, the best part for me is the attention to inclusivity while putting out a quality game. That’s right, the game not only has playable female, POC and LGBTQ characters, but its attention to accessibility settings for our disabled gamers is impressive too.

More Than 400 Devs Working on Cyberpunk 2077 

CD Projekt Red is apparently going all in for the highly anticipated title, Cyberpunk 2077. CD Projekt Red’s The Witcher 3 had 250 devs compared to the more than 400 now working on Cyberpunk 2077. With no official release date set, it’s heartening for fans to hear the project is still on schedule with such a dedicated development force.

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