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A statement by the Xbox company confirmed that Kotick will currently not leave his role as a result of the newly announced buyout, while the acquisition procedure continues.
“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.”
However, the statement does not clarify whether Kotick will leave Activision Blizzard once the deal has been closed.
UPDATE: In an interview with New York Times journalist Karen Weise, Bobby Kotick declined to say if he would be CEO after the deal closed.
ORIGINAL STORY CONTINUES: In a separate statement, Kotick said: “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.”
Xbox boss Phil Spencer sent an email to employees in November confirming that he was “evaluating” Xbox’s relationship with Activision Blizzard following the company’s response to allegations about its CEO Bobby Kotick.
In an email sent to Xbox staff and seen by Bloomberg, Spencer stated that he and the leadership team were “disturbed and deeply troubled by the horrific events and actions” at Activision Blizzard.
Spencer stated in his email that “this type of behaviour has no place in our industry”, and that he was “evaluating all aspects of [Xbox’s] relationship with Activision Blizzard and making ongoing proactive adjustments”.
Last week, however, Spencer stated that he doesn’t believe it’s his job to “punish other companies” like Activision Blizzard for their transgressions.
In an interview with the New York Times, Spencer was asked what needs to be done to deal with sexism. discrimination and harassment in the games industry.
“Well, I think the first thing we need to be able to do is to have people feel like they can report and talk about what’s happening,” he responded. “That goes to, like I said, the safety for people. And I have more capability of that on my own team. But I’ll just say in general, having open lines of communication where people can report on their lived experience on our teams, it’s got to be so critical.
“And to get there, it’s a cultural effort of how do you build that trust so people feel like when they whistle blow, when they raise their hand about topics that are going on, that they won’t face repercussions. Rather, they’ll see action.
“In terms of work that we do with other companies, again, I would rather help other companies than try to get into punishing. I don’t think my job is out there to punish other companies.”
Now that Kotick and the rest of Activision Blizzard will be reporting directly to Spencer following the completion of the acquisition, however, it remains to be seen how Spencer will deal with the organisation’s ongoing issues.
In July, Activision Blizzard was sued by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing because of its reported failure to handle sexual harassment and discrimination against female employees.
Its lawsuit included claims that a Blizzard employee committed suicide after male co-workers had passed around nude photos of her. It’s also been reported that Kotick knew about the alleged rape of a former Sledgehammer Games employee by a male supervisor in 2016 and 2017.