Microsoft and Activision Blizzard may be on the verge of a breakup
By Bob Garcia
Xbox boss Phil Spencer is concerned about the video game company’s status
The various allegations that have surfaced that Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick was allegedly aware of, retained and was even party to harassment and abusive behavior (especially towards women) at his company has major console partners like Sony and Microsoft scratching their heads and full of angst. In fact, all this news led to Microsoft Xbox boss Phil Spencer recently being reported to have told his staff that he is truly concerned and disturbed. Therefore, Microsoft is doing a thorough evaluation regarding its relationship with Activision Blizzard and making ongoing proactive adjustments. It is not yet known what the outcome of this review may be, but it could mean a rift between the two companies.
Sony has not stayed away from the situation, either, as it was reported that Sony PlayStation boss Jim Ryan also approached his employees with a lot of concern about the situation that has been going on with Activision, and that he does not believe that the studio’s statements really address the situation adequately.
The semi-private statements from both companies clearly don’t carry the same weight as if they decided to make these thoughts known publicly. At the moment it is still unclear whether either company is interested in taking concrete action. It’s no secret that Activision is one of the most important publishers in the gaming world, and so far, both console manufacturers have put their full confidence in the studio to bring new big-budget games to their consoles.
Microsoft has strived over the past few years to be seen as a less toxic video game company, and Spencer, in particular, has made a move against toxicity as part of his public branding. “This kind of behavior has no place in our industry,” reads part of Spencer’s new memo on Activision Blizzard.