The meeting of Bobby Kotick with employees, the official position on the future of the Call of Duty series on PlayStation, the fear of mass layoffs and the chances of the revival of old franchises. We tell you the main thing about all the latest news related to the Microsoft and Activision Blizzard deal.

Will Call of Duty continue to be released on PlayStation?

The short answer is most likely. However, in the long term, the situation may change.

Yesterday, a Sony representative said in a comment to The Wall Street Journal that the company expects Activision to fulfill its existing contractual obligations. Specific games were not mentioned in the statement, but it was most likely at least about Call of Duty.

Tonight Phil Spencer voiced a clearer position on this issue: “This week we had a good conversation with Sony executives. I confirmed our intention to comply with all existing agreements and our desire to keep Call of Duty on PlayStation. Sony is an important part of our industry and we value our relationship.”

This phrase can be interpreted in different ways. On the one hand, Spencer made it clear about Xbox’s intention to monitor the fulfillment of all Activision’s obligations to PlayStation. On the other hand, speaking about the future of the Call of Duty series, he mentioned only the “desire” of the company to keep this franchise on the Sony platform.

It is worth noting that the details and terms of the agreements between the companies are unknown. The Call of Duty brand is too big and commercially successful to completely abandon its presence on one of the most popular gaming consoles. Therefore, in the near future, the games of the series will probably continue to remain multiplatform. However, Microsoft’s position may change within a few years.

It is also unclear what other franchises are being discussed in the discussion of multiplatform Activision Blizzard releases. According to analysts, Microsoft will certainly leave some IP available on PlayStation, but may make some games exclusive (as is the case with the upcoming Starfield from Bethesda).

What does Phil Spencer say about the deal?

The short answer is that Microsoft firmly believes in Activision Blizzard’s anti—harassment plans and intends to give employees the best working conditions. Spencer himself would also like to see new games on forgotten franchises in the future.

Phil Spencer, who heads Microsoft’s gaming direction, shared his comments in a short interview with The Washington Post.

  • In the future, Microsoft is ready to revive some forgotten franchises owned by Activision Blizzard. As an example, Spencer mentioned the King’s Quest and Guitar Hero series, as well as the Hexen shooter. However, so far these are not specific plans, but only fantasies on the topic.
  • Spencer doesn’t trust IT corporations like Apple, Google and Meta that want to invest in the gaming industry. In his opinion, this is not their main business, and therefore their actions can only harm the industry. At the same time, he does not doubt the good intentions of Sony, Nintendo and Valve, who are well versed in the video game field.
  • Microsoft has studied all the accusations against Activision Blizzard in advance and is confident that it will be able to get better. According to Spencer, ABK management takes the fight against harassment and discrimination seriously.
  • At the same time, the head of Microsoft Gaming evaded the question about trade unions and admitted that he did not understand this issue well. However, he stressed that the company will do everything possible to create better working and creative conditions for Activision Blizzard employees.

How was the Cat’s meeting with Activision Blizzard employees?

The short answer is that the Cat will remain as CEO for as long as it takes, and employees are still afraid of possible layoffs.

On Thursday, Bobby Kotick held a video conference with the company’s employees, during which he answered popular questions in light of the deal with Microsoft. He will remain as CEO at least until the purchase is completed and will continue to lead the company if there is a need for a smoother transition and transfer of authority.

Recall that earlier there was information about the likely departure of the Cat from the company after the takeover. In case of dismissal, he can receive compensation in the amount of $ 293 million.

“I have been working here for 31 years, and for me there is nothing more important than this company, except my children,” said Kotick. — I can assure you that my obligation to the company is to continue to remain in my position. As soon as the deal is closed, I promised Microsoft that I will stay as long as necessary to ensure successful integration and consolidation of the companies.”

Speaking about the reasons for the purchase of Activision Blizzard, Kotick said that Microsoft “admires” the company’s products and intends to invest in the creation of its metaverse.

Some employees have noted that they are optimistic about a takeover by Microsoft. However, they are still wary of the Cat as a leader.

The CEO of Activision Blizzard stressed that Microsoft intends to retain as many employees of the company as possible. This formulation has raised concerns among employees about possible layoffs, as is often the case with such mergers.

What’s going on inside Activision Blizzard right now?

The short answer is the hope for positive changes under the leadership of Phil Spencer, the struggle for equal salaries and fatigue from the annual releases of Call of Duty.

Jason Schreier talked to Activision Blizzard employees and wrote a report on the mood within the company.

  • Some employees consider the Cat to be the cause of the company’s internal problems and hope for a possible improvement in the situation after the deal with Microsoft.
  • In Spencer, employees, on the contrary, see a stronger leader. As an example, they cite the studios Double Fine and Obsidian, which were allowed to act autonomously and preserve creative freedom after the takeover.
  • Employees will continue to demand that management fight harassment and other unacceptable behavior. They also intend to advocate for higher salaries — especially in QA departments.
  • The company is discussing the rejection of the release of Call of Duty on an annual basis. Both the heavy workload of the teams and the drop in sales after the release of Vanguard are cited as reasons. But this year, a new part of Call of Duty will still be released — big bets are being placed on it.

What does Blizzard plan to do to improve its position in 2022?

The short answer is to continue to fight unacceptable behavior in the workplace, as well as to put the players and their wishes above all else. However, the company has not yet shared specific plans for new games.

The current president of Blizzard, Mike Ybarra, announced his intention to change the situation within the company and regain the trust of the players. He outlined several steps that should contribute to this:

  • now the compensation of managers and top managers will directly depend on how successfully Blizzard will be able to create a safe, inclusive and creative atmosphere within the company;
  • to improve the working environment, Blizzard has begun allocating more resources and appointing special people responsible for this area — including a new organizational head of the HR department, a “cultural leader” (responsible for maintaining and improving internal processes) and a leader in the field of diversity, equity and inclusivity;
  • the size of the teams responsible for investigating conflicts has been tripled;
  • the company has clearly formulated responsibility for unacceptable behavior (sanctions will be applied, including to management);
  • the company has implemented a feedback program to ensure that employees are confident in the correct assessment of the work of management.

“We also know that we need to release content to our players on a more regular basis and innovate both in our existing games and beyond. We have some interesting announcements that I will share next week,” Ibarra said.