This morning, Bobby Kotick held an all-hands meeting with Activision Blizzard employees to address Microsoft’s acquisition of the company for $68.7 billion dollars. He stated that Microsoft would be trying to “retain as many of our people as possible,” and that he planned to stay on as the CEO of Activision Blizzard until the deal closed. Sources suggest rank-and-file employees did not appreciate the session, in which Kotick was typically unwilling to address pressing issues like his company’s culture of sexual harassment.
As originally reported by the Washington Post, this “Fireside Chat” took place over a video conference and fielded questions which were said to be submitted by employees via email and were read by the chief people officer. Kotick was late for the session, and it was only 16 minutes long.
An anonymous Activision Blizzard employee told Kotaku they knew other employees submitted questions about gender discrimination and the Raven QA strike, but they never got posed to Kotick.
“I can tell you that my commitment to the company is [to] remain in my role,” Kotick told employees. “Once the deal closes, what I’ve committed to Microsoft is I will stay as long as is necessary to ensure that we have a great integration and a great transition.”
Employees are taking this messaging as further indication that Kotick may not remain as CEO once the acquisition is complete. However, it also means that he could likely remain the head of Activision Blizzard for at least another year. In the meantime, the developers have to endure the leadership of a man who has shown complete disregard for their labor rights, and their right to a workplace without discrimination and harassment.
The Washington Post notes that its sources were additionally concerned by Kotick’s comment that “the transition is going to be smooth because [Microsoft is] committed to trying to retain as many of our people as possible,” which evoked the specter of possible future layoffs.
“He said some very surface-kind things about how much he cares for the teams and employees that make up ABK,” Kotaku’s source said. “If he actually cared, he would address the concerns submitted.”
Instead, he said that Microsoft was interested in the metaverse and joked about how the staff would not be forced to switch to Microsoft Teams. Kotaku’s source noted that none of the employees actually cared about any of those things.
The Washington Post’s source was similarly pessimistic about Kotick’s willingness to fix the issues at his company:
He likened Activision to be as important as his children and I feel like he will not let go of it. With no mention of the strike, the lawsuit, or any of the continuing issues, there may as well have not been a Q&A at all. We could’ve read a press release and slept an extra 15 minutes.
According to a source from Raven Software, while Kotick is wasting workers’ time giving fluff speeches, the striking workers continue, without pay, to push for the reinstatement of their laid-off colleagues.