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Friday, August 12, 2016

Z2, a subsidiary of Activision Blizzard, cuts jobs to better align with ‘strategic goals’

z2liveZ2, the Seattle-based game studio acquired by King Digital Entertainment last year, has cut jobs in its support functions group.

Founded in 2009, Z2 — previously known as Z2Live — is the company behind titles such as Battle Nations and Metalstorm. It was acquired by King, maker of the popular game Candy Crush, for $150 million in February 2015 and remained in Seattle.

Later that year, gaming giant Activision Blizzard acquired King for $5.9 billion, and in the process swooped up Z2, as well.

A King spokesperson confirmed with GeekWire today that the studio slashed marketing and support positions, but did not provide specific numbers. Z2 employed just over 100 people in Seattle when it was acquired by King; a LinkedIn search shows 60 Z2 employees now in Seattle. The company has eight open positions on its jobs site.

Here’s a statement from King:

“We acquired the Seattle studio last year and are now integrating it into our business and aligning it with our strategic goals. We are removing some support functions and capitalizing on the experience and talent within the studio, so we can best deliver on our goal of bringing the very best games to our network.”

Z2 is led by Lou Fasulo, who took the helm in July 2012. The company was founded by former Microsoft developer Damon Danieli and led in its initial phases by gaming veteran David Bluhm. Its investors included DFJ and Madrona, with Madrona incubating the idea at the firm’s downtown Seattle offices in 2008. Total funding in Z2 was just $6.5 million before the acquisition.

King started in Sweden in 2003, and it later moved its headquarters to London. When it purchased Seattle-based Z2 earlier this year, that marked the company’s very first U.S. gaming studio.

“King is predominantly known for their immensely popular puzzle games,” Fasulo said at the time of the acquisition. “Z2 has had great success in casual to mid-core builder, strategy and action games — this combination extends their capabilities to new game genres.”

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