Activision Blizzard not doing well in recent months, due to allegations of workplace harassment. As if that weren’t enough, after the latest news regarding the company’s CEO, Bobby Kotick, other giants of the gaming world are starting to comment on this situation: among them we also find Sony and Microsoft.
Sony and Microsoft comment on the situation of Activision Blizzard
Recently, the delicate situation that Activision Blizzard is experiencing is complicated further. A few days ago the Wall Street Journal published another report according to which the CEO of the company, Bobby Kotick, had been aware of the sexual harassment in the workplace. The WSJ also reported that Kotick failed to inform the board of directors of “everything they knew” about some incidents, including a 2018 relationship with a former employee victim of violence by a supervisor.
Despite the Wall Street Journal report, Activision Blizzard CEO remains at the head of the company and continues to have the support of the board of directors. The latter, earlier in the week, stated that remains confident in leadership at Kotick.
However, the company is now forced to take serious action regarding a large number of employees. Furthermore, as if that were not enough, he has to deal with the comments from the big names in the gaming field. Recently either Microsoft that Sony have commented on the story of Activision Blizzard.
The words of Phil Spencer
In days gone by the Xbox boss, Phil Spencer, sent a similar email to Microsoft staff.
Spencer said the Xbox leadership team is “disturbed and deeply troubled by the horrific events and actions” of Activision Blizzard. Spencer’s message refers to new allegations according to which Kotick was aware of sexual abuse and harassment in the society.
However Phil Spencer also went beyond, saying it is “evaluating all aspects” of the working relationship by Microsoft with Activision Blizzard. It is also “making continuous proactive adjustments”: in a nutshell it means that, as long as the situation remains unchanged, the partnership between the two companies could suffer.
“I personally have strong values for a welcoming and inclusive environment for all of our Xbox employees,” Spencer said in a statement. “This is not a destination but a journey that we will always take. The leadership of Xbox and Microsoft supports our teams and supports them in building a safer environment for all ”.
In response to the report, an Activision spokesperson said the company respect the “Feedback” from its partners and is “engaging with them further” on the matter. Activision Blizzard representative also revealed:
We have detailed the important changes we have implemented over the past few weeks and will continue to do so. We are committed to ensuring that our culture and workplace are safe, diverse and inclusive. We know it will take some time but we will not stop until we can offer the best job to our team.
Also Jim Ryan, the CEO and President of Sony, decided to comment on the story. Ryan claimed he stayed shocked e worried from what is happening. Most of all, Ryan criticizes the way Activision Blizzard is doing facing history.
Jim Ryan, like Phil Spencer, sent a e-mails to its Sony employees. In the document sent, he states:
I am discouraged and frankly amazed to learn that Activision has not done enough to fight a deeply entrenched culture of discrimination and harassment. We reached out to Activision shortly after the article was published to express our deep concern and to ask how they intend to respond to the statements in the article.
However, the problems do not end there because the pressure on Kotick to resign is growing disproportionately. More than 150 employees organized a strike earlier this week to ask for his resignation. Plus others hundreds of people they signed a petition circulated in the past few days to ask for the same.
Kotick has previously indicated that he means lead the company out of its current chaos. However if both heads of the two main console platforms should decide that it would be better to have nothing to do with such an individual, the board of directors of Activision Blizzard he may have no choice but to fire him and replace it.
Would Sony or Microsoft ever refuse to sell Activision Blizzard’s games?
This situation obviously raises a question: if Bobby Kotick, despite everything, were still to hold the position of CEO of the company, what would be the answer from Sony and Microsoft? As we pointed out earlier, Kotick has the full support of the board of directors. However, this situation could change when two big names in the gaming field like Sony and Microsoft decide to stop selling the company’s video games.
If someone like Sony refuses, for example, to sell Call of Duty in its stores, the board of directors would be forced to review his stance towards Kotick. It would not be about taking the game out for a few months, as it happened with Cyberpunk 2077 – even if, in that case, the situation was quite different. The video game was removed because It did not work on a platform.
In this case, however, we would talk about removing it for a period indefinite. In any case, a similar action would cost both Sony and Activision Blizzard one significant amount of revenue. Obviously though it would cost Activision more, both in dollars and in print. This is because it would be such an important move that no one could ignore it, not even the board of directors or the investors.
We doubt Sony will go that far but, as we can guess from the email sent by Jim Ryan, the company it requires concrete changes by Activision Blizzard. The words, as we can see, they don’t do much good: the public but especially Sony and Microsoft, they need action.
A concrete answer, however, could come from the public who could decide to do not buy, by mutual agreement, the Activision Blizzard titles. At the moment, however, these are all hypothesis and we can do nothing but wait for an answer from Sony, Microsoft and Activision Blizzard itself.