Microsoft made what is perhaps the biggest coup in video game history when it decided to outright buy the entirety of Activision Blizzard. Immediately following the acquisition, everyone waited for the current Activision Blizzard CEO to make a statement.
Now, Bobby Kotick has finally addressed the industry-changing news.
Activision Blizzard has been mired in controversy for most of 2021. In between sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuits as well as employee walkouts and strikes, the famed video game publisher hasn't had a good year. Kotick, in particular, has been on the hot seat for a while. There have been several calls to have him resign and be replaced. Meanwhile, Xbox boss Phil Spencer once said that he was going to re-evaluate the company's relationship with Activision Blizzard.
In hindsight, Spencer might have been planning to acquire the controversial publisher to see if things would get better under his guidance.
Having said that, Microsoft confirmed that Kotick will remain the CEO of Activision Blizzard. At least, until the deal is finalized, which will not happen until some time in 2023. In his letter to Activision Blizzard employees, Kotick detailed the reasons for the sale. In particular, Kotick mentions how Microsoft can make Activision Blizzard better. He also points out how Activision will continue to operate independently of Microsoft until the full approval of the process in 2023.
Unsurprisingly, Kotick did not talk about the controversies surrounding Activision Blizzard in his statement. However, Kotick did attribute Microsoft's philosophy and how it cared about its employees as a key selling point. Kotick says that he is hoping that the acquisition will help inspire Activision-Blizzard to continue improving internally in the interim.
Finally, Kotick reassured employees that management will "host numerous forums and events" to address employee concerns.
At the end of the day, these are mere words with zero implications. Kotick and the rest of Activision Blizzard remain stuck in a wave of controversies and criticisms. Everyone, from government agencies to internal studios and audiences, appears unsatisfied with the way things are going within the company. If this is Kotick's last year in Activision Blizzard, we're hoping that he'll find a way to make the most out of his final days before Phil Spencer takes over.