Last week, Microsoft laid off 1900 video game workers across its various studios. This included cuts at recently acquired Activision Blizzard. And one employee, before being laid off, used a Blizzard company perk to walk away with nearly 10 years of World of Warcraft subscription codes.
The video game industry’s terrible 2023, which saw thousands of people laid off across multiple companies, has continued into 2024. As of January 29, according to Kotaku’s layoff tracker, nearly 6,000 cuts have been made at places like Unity, Riot, Bethesda, Twitch, Discord, and Activision Blizzard. One developer at Blizzard realized what was happening and took advantage of a company perk before losing access.
As spotted by PC Gamer, on January 25, the same day the layoffs at Blizzard happened, former product lead Adam Holisky tweeted that once he “realized what was happening” and that he was one of the nearly 2,000 people losing their jobs that day, he made sure to “jump into Keyring and use all the 1-year [pre-paid World of Warcraft] subscription codes” he had yet to activate.
He then shared a screenshot that shows that he doesn’t have to pay for his World of Warcraft subscription until October 14, 2033. That’s one hell of a parting gift and beats a watch or pizza party, that’s for sure.
“Free game time is a well-known employee benefit,” Holisky added on Twitter. “I just never used all the codes I got over the years. It’s nothing sketchy or immoral.”
I reached out to Holisky and he explained to me that Keyring is an internal system at Blizzard where employees can access digital game codes that they “earned for whatever reason.”
He clarified that he had stockpiled these one-year codes while working at Blizzard for nearly five years. Another employee who was laid off at the company tried a similar tactic, but it seems so many others were trying to get their codes before getting laid off that they all crashed the Keyring service.
So Holisky was like Indiana Jones sliding under the door and grabbing his hat at the last second, except the stone door is horrible layoffs causing 1,900 people to be out of work and the hat is a decade of key codes. And while a decade of WoW subscription time is a nice prize, I assume most folks would rather have a job instead.