Microsoft/Xbox shocked the gaming industry today by announcing plans to buy Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion. Activision was embroiled in multiple sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuits, multiple employee walkouts, and a Raven Software strike centered on CEO Bobby Kotick.
In the wake of these ongoing controversies, today’s acquisition immediately raised questions about whether Kotick would remain CEO, with Microsoft confirming that he will still lead Activision for the time being. Kotick himself has not explicitly discussed his future post-acquisition matters, but it’s worth remembering that such management changes are generally not publicly disclosed until after the deal closes. However, Kotick did, write a letter To Activision Blizzard employees to rationalize sales and how Microsoft can improve the company.
An important detail that Kotick points out is that the transition will take some time to complete. He pointed to Microsoft’s fiscal year 2023, which ends on June 30, as the expected time frame for completing the entire approval process. Until then, Activision will continue to operate independently.
Kotick hopes Microsoft’s expertise in technologies such as cloud computing and artificial intelligence machine learning will support Activision’s existing plans. Kotick has previously cited the growing competition around the concept of the Metaverse, suggesting that Microsoft will make a big contribution in the space.
On Activision’s cultural issues, Kotick also cited Microsoft’s employee care philosophy as another selling point, hoping to help Inspire continue to improve its own internal problems. Xbox head Phil Spencer mentioned a similar slogan in a recent interview about the state of Activision, of helping troubled studios get better, not just punishing them.
You can read the full letter below:
Today is an incredibly exciting day. We will eventually become part of Microsoft as we continue our journey to connect and engage the world through epic entertainment. I am sure that as gaming grows in Metaverse, our incredible talent and extraordinary play, combined with our shared commitment to the best place to work, will enable us to compete in an increasingly competitive leadership race. growing up.
How we got here and where are we going
When you look back at what we’ve built together, we have a lot to be proud of. For the past 31 years, we’ve continued to shape games through our dedication to delivering the thrill of joy, fun, and achievement.
We transform games into social experiences that empower players to find purpose and meaning through the most engaging form of entertainment—our games. By doing so, we create and entertain communities of hundreds of millions of players.
The next step is to connect these communities together. Facebook, Google, Tencent, NetEase, Amazon, Apple, Sony, Disney — and more — all have ambitious plans for their games and metaverse. Established and emerging competitors see opportunity in virtual worlds filled with professionally produced content, user-generated content, and rich social relationships.
Our talents and our games are an important part of building rich virtual worlds. We always attract the best game makers and build the best games, seizing opportunities with passion, inspiration, focus and determination.
Defining future partnerships
As investments in cloud computing, artificial intelligence and machine learning, data analytics, and user interface and experience capabilities become more competitive, we believe this partnership will better achieve our ambitions.
When considering possible partners, all roads eventually lead to Microsoft. Like us, they’ve been making games for a long time. Microsoft already distributes games to hundreds of millions of computers and computing devices around the world and has the technology and innovations to support the next generation of gaming.
Microsoft will also support our journey to further strengthen our culture. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has been keen on caring as the currency of leadership. Inspiring people through empathy is a powerful motivator that we embrace as we renew our resolve—and in the work we do now—to set new standards for a welcoming and inclusive workplace culture.
Importantly, Microsoft needs you—your talent, your creativity, and your dedication to each other. Activision Blizzard’s success over the years can be directly attributed to each of you. Microsoft recognizes that our commitment to excellence and creative independence sets us apart, and we anticipate minimal changes to our workforce following the closing of the transaction. Microsoft’s diverse operations will allow us to gain valuable expertise, technology and tools, and provide additional opportunities for learning and development.
The culture of any organization, including ours, needs no improvement, and thanks to your input, we’ve come a long way in improving our culture. My commitment is to continue to develop our culture so that near the end, Microsoft will have an exemplary workplace.
Transactions like this can take a long time to complete. We expect that we will continue to operate fully autonomously sometime in Microsoft’s fiscal 2023, which ends June 30, 2023, until we obtain all necessary regulatory approvals and meet other customary closing conditions. I will continue to serve as our CEO with the same enthusiasm and enthusiasm that I started this amazing journey with in 1991.
Of course, this announcement will raise a lot of questions. We will be hosting many forums and events to make sure we address your concerns.
I’m incredibly proud of this company, you, and the work we’ve done together. Now is our next chapter, and this deal represents endless possibilities for us. I really appreciate your hard work, focus, and dedication to connecting the world through joy and fun.
Kotick’s future at Activision has been a big question mark as he reportedly hid years of reports of employee abuse from Activision Blizzard shareholders. At one point, he himself said he would consider stepping down if the company culture disagreed, despite employee petitions and minority shareholders calling for his resignation.