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Activision Blizzard staff layoffs may nix WoW mobile

Previously we reported that a mobile version of WoW was being seriously considered at Blizzard. However, with the finalization of the Activision Blizzard merger, the odds of being able to play WoW on your iPhone just got a lot lower. The newly-merged company is laying off 53 employees in the Issaquah, Washington area by September 27, 2008. Additionally, they are evaluating whether they will keep Vivendi Games Mobile, an arm of the company which develops games for the various mobile markets, like phones. If Activision Blizzard does decide to divest themselves of VGM, you can probalby kiss your hopes for WoW mobile goodbye since the synergy and cost-effectiveness of having the mobile developers under the same roof will disappear. I'm not saying that the WoW developers aren't beyond creating their own mobile infrastructure, or even paying higher prices for it to an external company, but it will be much less likely if they don't have the luxury of teaming with folks who all report up the through same corporate food chain.

Among the other companies which Activision Blizzard says are eligible for the chopping block are Sierra Online, Massive Entertainment and Swordfish Studios, with staffing "realignments" likely at Radical Entertainment and High Moon Studios -- the loss of any of which will likely have no effect on WoW development, but may affect other games. Activision has announced that a few highly-anticipated titles are on the bubble, including Ghostusters and Double Fine's Brutal Legend among others. I sure hope they don't mess with Double Fine, since I am a huge Tim Schafer fan, but the upside is that it looks like the new company will have an even stronger focus on keeping their cash cow, WoW, healthy and grazing in the pasture for a long while to come.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items, Hardware

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