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COD League in Danger as Activision Lays Off ‘Majority’ of Esports Team Esports.net

There’s awful news coming out of the Call of Duty camp today, and it concerns mass layoffs at Activision Blizzard – again. In recent hours, it was confirmed by former employees that Activision is ‘cleaning house’ in the esports department, releasing casters, on-air talent, senior-level esports managers, and the entire team of ‘CDL observers’. This news packs an extra punch, as it comes just one day after the end of the CDL’s Major I tournament in Boston, which was a roaring success.

Effectively, Activision Blizzard had the teams work through the Major before dropping them the moment the event had wrapped. It’s not known what comes next for the CDL, but in one claim, it was stressed that there are ‘about 12 people left on the esports team’ at Activision Blizzard. It’s no big secret that Call of Duty is going through a rough patch, with recent delays and issues impacting Challengers especially – but now the game’s top-flight league is coming under intense fire.


From Bad to Worse

cod league

Last year, some fifty employees were laid off at Activision Blizzard, impacting both the Overwatch League and the Call of Duty League. Recently, the Overwatch League was shut down, and in its place came an entirely new ecosystem of esports. There are now expectations pointing to that same course of action taking place within Call of Duty’s ecosystem. For years, the most die-hard fans have found issues with the Call of Duty League, namely the tournament’s franchising structure, which has effectively locked many healthy competitors out of the space and ‘watered it down’.

In a statement on Twitter, Josh Lee, a former member of the CDL observer team, said:

‘There are no longer any more full-time observers for the CoD League as the remainder of Hot Hands Lounge was let go after the conclusion of the Boston Major. All of those years of work and development the team put in has just been wiped. CoD esports will never be the same again.’

It’s a bold claim, but it certainly holds some weight. Recently, organisations and companies close to Call of Duty have been getting cleaned out. For instance, Sledgehammer Games, Modern Warfare 3’s developer, recently saw a 30% cut in its staff base. There have been plenty of ups and downs in the Call of Duty space of late, such as the League’s decision to port the CDL to YouTube – which was a hard pill for fans to swallow. It saw an instant knock hitting the already inconsistent viewer count for the CDL.

What Happens Now?

Now, we continue as normal. There are no indications that anything ‘further’ will happen beyond these layoffs. They’re devastating for those involved, but the Call of Duty League is still all systems go, with the Major II qualifying stage commencing on February 16. For now, everything remains ‘business as usual’, but there are beliefs that once this season of the CDL is up, monumental changes will take place. We’ll cover all the developments as they unfold.


For more Call of Duty news, stay tuned to Esports.net

Grant Taylor-Hill

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