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Blizzard "proud" of Mike Ybarra's leadership following "awful" company-wide meeting

Employee satisfaction discussed.

Activision Blizzard has said it is "proud" of Mike Ybarra's leadership following a disastrous company-wide meeting to discuss an internal employee satisfaction survey.

During the meeting Ybarra was asked several pre-screened questions on its supposed use of stack ranking for employee performance, the slashing of profit-share bonuses for 2022, and the announcement employees will be required to return to office working.

However, Blizzard employees soon took to social media after the meeting to express their outrage at Ybarra's comments.

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As Game Developer reports, Blizzard is set to slash profit-share bonuses down to 58 percent across the company. In response, Ybarra commented (paraphrased): "If you think that executives are making a lot of money and you aren't, you're living in a myth."

While the drop in bonus will affect all employees, it will have a greater impact on employees with a lower salary.

There were also reportedly concerns from employees about the impact of lower bonuses in the context of returning to the office, which will bring higher commuting and/or living costs.

Ybarra reportedly did not provide a clear action plan on retaining talent due to these changes, though elsewhere Blizzard stated it would be opening new offices in unnamed locations to act as hubs.

Ybarra did respond: "At the end of the day we want people to be happy, and if decisions about being happy don't align with where we're going, and you won't be happy, then you'll have to do what will make [you] happy."

A Game Developer source at Blizzard interpreted this as suggesting employees not aligned with the office working policy should leave. An Activision Blizzard spokesperson added Ybarra stated the company would "listen to the team's feedback" and balance it with "what's best for the business and serving players long-term".

Employee concerns around financial difficulties were especially strong in the quality assurance and customer service departments, to which Ybarra reportedly replied "some of our disciplines are not long-term disciplines".

An Activision Blizzard spokesperson responded that these areas are considered "not long-term disciplines" because the company "wants people to grow and take on expanded responsibility and opportunity".

QA testers at Activision Blizzard studio Raven Software last year won a vote to unionise in order to better support employees in these departments.

An Activision Blizzard spokesperson told Game Developer: "Blizzard stands by each of these statements and we're proud of Mike's leadership in tough moments".

Eurogamer has contacted Activision Blizzard for additional comment.

However, many employees took to social media after the meeting to express their outrage.

"I've been in the industry for nearly 10 years and have never, ever been as embarrassed by leadership figures as I am at this moment," said senior game designer Dylan Snyder.

Senior character artist Bryan Bedford said: "After today, my confidence in leadership now only extends to Team 4 and no further. What an absolute mess of a week."