Friday, December 22

Bobby Kotick Departs Activision Blizzard, Microsoft Retains Some Executives




Bobby Kotick, the long-standing CEO of Activision Blizzard, is set to depart from the company on December 29th, marking the end of a controversial tenure. This move follows the acquisition of Activision-Blizzard by Microsoft, a deal that Kotick himself facilitated amidst increasing industry and market pressures.

Kotick's Controversial Legacy

Kotick's leadership at Activision Blizzard has been marred by numerous controversies, including allegations of threatening behavior, union-busting, and mass layoffs. He has also been criticized for denying the existence of a harassment culture within the company and blaming workers and the press for the company's issues. His departure is seen by many as a necessary step for the company's rehabilitation.

Microsoft's Acquisition and Future Plans

With Microsoft's acquisition of Activision Blizzard now complete, Phil Spencer, CEO of Microsoft Gaming, has indicated that the transition will bring changes to the company. However, it's reported that several Activision executives and leadership positions will remain intact, at least for the time being. This includes Blizzard president Mike Ybarra, a former Activision executive controversially installed by Kotick in 2021.

Ybarra's End-of-Year Memo

Mike Ybarra released an end-of-year memo to Blizzard fans, highlighting the company's recent achievements and future plans. He noted the increase in players for "World of Warcraft" since the launch of "Dragonflight," the appointment of Tyler Bielman as the new director of "Hearthstone," and the success of "Warcraft Rumble." Ybarra also mentioned upcoming anniversaries in the "Warcraft" universe and promised more information on in-development games when appropriate.

Unaddressed Issues

Notably absent from the discussions and memos were updates on publishing games in China, where Activision Blizzard has been without a partner for the past year.

Conclusion

Bobby Kotick's departure from Activision Blizzard marks the end of an era for the company, one that many hope will lead to positive changes under Microsoft's ownership. While some executives remain from Kotick's tenure, the gaming community is looking forward to seeing how the company evolves and addresses past controversies. The year 2024 is set to be significant for Blizzard, with major anniversaries and game developments on the horizon.

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