Blizzard Entertainment will lay off around 600 employees -- around 90 percent of which will come from its non-development departments -- after completing a review of its "current organizational needs."
The Irvine-headquartered company will eliminate those positions across its global workforce; as of 2009, Blizzard employed approximately 4,600 workers around the world (it reportedly added
1,000 more in 2010).
"Constant evaluation of teams and processes is necessary for the long-term health of any business," says Blizzard CEO and co-founder Mike Morhaime in a statement received by Gamasutra. "Over the last several years, we've grown our organization tremendously and made large investments in our infrastructure in order to better serve our global community."
He adds, "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."
Blizzard says its World of Warcraft
team will not be impacted, nor will its development and publishing schedules for upcoming releases like Diablo III, StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm, Blizzard DOTA,
and its Mists of Pandaria
expansion for World of Warcraft
This news comes several weeks after the developer's parent company Activision Blizzard revealed that subscriber numbers for World of Warcraft have been slipping
, dropping from 10.3 million to 10.2 million during the October to December quarter -- and down from its 12 million peak in 2010.
The developer notes that accounting changes from this headcount reduction are not expected to be material to Activision Blizzard, and were included in its parent company's 2012 financial outlook.