Activision/Blizzard spent the last two years deflecting from their sexual harassment scandal. Yesterday, seemingly out of nowhere, Microsoft swooped in to buy the gaming giant.
Before that sale, however, Activision had taken many steps to quiet criticism. Jen Oneal was made one of the heads of the company. She left only a few months later, revealing that her salary was lower than her male counterparts.
Even more surprising is a reveal about the lengths Activision CEO Bobby Kotick wanted to go to create better press. The Wall St. Journal notes:
“Mr. Kotick has been eager to change the public narrative about the company, and in recent weeks has suggested Activision Blizzard make some kind of acquisition, including of gaming-trade publications like Kotaku and PC Gamer, according to people familiar with him. The Activision spokeswoman, Ms. Klasky, disputed that Mr. Kotick wanted to make the acquisitions. A spokesman for G/O Media, the parent company of Kotaku, declined to comment. PC Gamer didn’t respond to a request for comment.”
Activision was able to survive without Kotick taking this step. And Kotick will not last long after the merger.
The initial press release read, “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. Once the deal closes, the Activision Blizzard business will report to Phil Spencer, CEO, Microsoft Gaming.”
But according to insiders, Kotick will depart once the merger is complete, which may take anywhere from 12-18 months.