Out of nowhere, Microsoft has announced a massive $68.7 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard, in a deal that eclipses Xbox’s recent acquisition of Bethesda not only in terms of monetary value, but also the impact it could have on the gaming industry as a whole. One wrinkle to all this, of course, is the major controversies Activision Blizzard has found itself in of late, with reports having uncovered long-standing issues of a deep-seated culture of abuse and toxicity across the company.
Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick in particular has been under fire as well. Shareholders and thousands of employees have called for his resignation in recent weeks, and reports had previously claimed that he would consider resigning if he was unable to bring about quick and necessary improvements to the company’s many issues. How does his situation change with the Xbox deal though?
It seems it doesn’t. In the press release announcing Xbox’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard, Microsoft stated that Bobby Kotick will remain on as the CEO.
“Bobby Kotick will continue to serve as CEO of Activision Blizzard, and he and his team will maintain their focus on driving efforts to further strengthen the company’s culture and accelerate business growth,” the statement reads. “Once the deal closes, the Activision Blizzard business will report to Phil Spencer, CEO, Microsoft Gaming.”
Kotick said about the acquisition: “For more than 30 years our incredibly talented teams have created some of the most successful games. The combination of Activision Blizzard’s world-class talent and extraordinary franchises with Microsoft’s technology, distribution, access to talent, ambitious vision and shared commitment to gaming and inclusion will help ensure our continued success in an increasingly competitive industry.”
In November, in the wake of reports bringing to light various internal issues at Activision Blizzard, Xbox boss Phil Spencer said that Xbox was “evaluating all aspects” of its relationship with Activision. Recently, he also stated that Microsoft had “changed the way” it does “certain things” with the company.