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Activision Blizzard CEO issues new statement on lawsuit, saying initial response was ‘tone deaf’

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Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick sent out a new email internally to the entire company’s staff on July 27 further addressing the harassment lawsuit which surfaced several issues with the company’s culture.

In this new internal email, Activision Blizzard CEO acknowledges that the company’s initial responses to the situation was “tone deaf.”

Our initial responses to the issues we face together, and to your concerns, were, quite frankly, tone deaf.”

He commits to working with all employees to build a better culture across Activision Blizzard.

His full email is below, shared by Activision Blizzard publicly:

This has been a difficult and upsetting week.

I want to recognize and thank all those who have come forward in the past and in recent days. I so appreciate your courage. Every voice matters – and we will do a better job of listening now, and in the future.

Our initial responses to the issues we face together, and to your concerns, were, quite frankly, tone deaf.

It is imperative that we acknowledge all perspectives and experiences and respect the feelings of those who have been mistreated in any way. I am sorry that we did not provide the right empathy and understanding.

Many of you have told us that active outreach comes from caring so deeply for the Company. That so many people have reached out and shared thoughts, suggestions, and highlighted opportunities for improvement is a powerful reflection of how you care for our communities of colleagues and players – and for each other. 

Ensuring that we have a safe and welcoming work environment is my highest priority. The leadership team has heard you loud and clear.

We are taking swift action to be the compassionate, caring company you came to work for and to ensure a safe environment. There is no place anywhere at our Company for discrimination, harassment, or unequal treatment of any kind.

We will do everything possible to make sure that together, we improve and build the kind of inclusive workplace that is essential to foster creativity and inspiration.

I have asked the law firm WilmerHale to conduct a review of our policies and procedures to ensure that we have and maintain best practices to promote a respectful and inclusive workplace. This work will begin immediately. 

The WilmerHale team will be led by Stephanie Avakian, who is a member of the management team at WilmerHale and was most recently the Director of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Enforcement.

We encourage anyone with an experience you believe violates our policies or in any way made you uncomfortable in the workplace to use any of our many existing channels for reporting or to reach out to Stephanie. She and her team at WilmerHale will be available to speak with you on a confidential basis and can be reached at [email protected] or 202-247-2725. 

Your outreach will be kept confidential. Of course, NO retaliation will be tolerated.

We are committed to long-lasting change. 

Effective immediately, we will be taking the following actions:

  1. Employee Support. We will continue to investigate each and every claim and will not hesitate to take decisive action. To strengthen our capabilities in this area we are adding additional senior staff and other resources to both the Compliance team and the Employee Relations team. 
  2. Listening Sessions. We know many of you have inspired ideas on how to improve our culture. We will be creating safe spaces, moderated by third parties, for you to speak out and share areas for improvement. 
  3. Personnel Changes. We are immediately evaluating managers and leaders across the Company. Anyone found to have impeded the integrity of our processes for evaluating claims and imposing appropriate consequences will be terminated. 
  4. Hiring Practices. Earlier this year I sent an email requiring all hiring managers to ensure they have diverse candidate slates for all open positions. We will be adding compliance resources to ensure that our hiring managers are in fact adhering to this directive. 
  5. In-game Changes. We have heard the input from employee and player communities that some of our in-game content is inappropriate. We are removing that content.

Your well-being remains my priority and I will spare no company resource ensuring that our company has the most welcoming, comfortable, and safe culture possible.

You have my unwavering commitment that we will improve our company together, and we will be the most inspiring, inclusive entertainment company in the world.

Yours sincerely,

Bobby


This new message comes hours after employees of the company announced they’d stage a walk out on July 28 in protest of the company’s initial response to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit has caused many employees of the company to protest in anger over how executives have handled the situation so far.

It remains to be seen how or if this new statement from Kotick will change employee’s views as time goes on.

Activision Blizzard’s new statement took 6 days since the initial lawsuit (and statement) were released.

We’ll continue to keep everyone updated as the situation continues to unfold.

Activision

Activision apologize for using artist’s design in now canceled Vanguard & Warzone skin

Activision have scrapped an unreleased Warzone and Vanguard skin after using an artist’s work without permission.

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Vanguard and Warzone Season 4 Reloaded skins

Activision admitted to the major misstep of using an artist’s work without permission. The original art was to feature in an upcoming Vanguard and Warzone skin that has since been axed.

Major content drops like new seasons or midseason updates deliver weapons, maps, and changes to Call of Duty games, but they also tend to bring brand-new skins to enjoy. Vanguard and Warzone have seen some noteworthy skins that certainly got players talking.

After all, who could forget the Armored Titan, or Godzilla and King Kong skins? At the start of Season 4 Reloaded, players also received a new Terminator crossover. However, teasers for Season 4 Reloaded also hinted at a mysterious wolf-like skin.

After the wolf skin was teased in an official Call of Duty blog post, it was later inexplicably removed and replaced from the very same post. It turns out, Activision used content that did not belong to them in order to create the aforementioned skin.

When the wolf skin was first teased, it certainly generated a ton of buzz, or rather raised a ton of eyebrows. The anthropomorphic Operator definitely sticks out in a WWII-era Call of Duty game. Nonetheless, fans were excited at the prospect of running around as a wolf in Warzone.

Unfortunately, that idea won’t come to fruition as Activision have confirmed that they completely removed the skin from their planned content drop for Season 4 Reloaded.

It seems Activision overstepping bounds is the reason behind the skin’s cancelation.

An artist claimed that the wolf skin, also known as Samoyed skin, was stolen without their permission. In a strange turn of events, Activision has issued an apology, seemingly confirming the artist’s claims.

In a statement, Activision admitted that they “regrettably erred in our process and have removed this imagery from the game,” apologizing for the misstep.

While fans may be disappointed to lose their chance at slaying in a furry wolf skin, most would agree that if the artist’s claims are legitimate, the greater injustice was corrected as nobody should have their work stolen without credit.


For more, check out how CoD players are thrilled with the rumored change to Modern Warfare 2’s movement.

Image Credit: Activision

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Activision Blizzard rake in $1.2 billion despite Warzone & Vanguard bringing lowest player count in years

Although 2022 has seen CoD with its lowest player count in years, Activision Blizzard still raked in $1.2 billion from microtransactions.

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T-1000 skin in Vanguard and Warzone

Although Q1 and Q2 2022 saw Activision have its lowest monthly player count since 2019, the publisher upped its Call of Duty microtransaction revenue in the second quarter, helping to rake in over $1.2 billion.

Activision Blizzard held their quarterly earnings call on August 1, and it was a mixed bag for the Call of Duty franchise.

Alongside teasing that there will be a premium CoD game in 2023, Activision revealed they have seen the lowest monthly player count since 2019 but their in-game cosmetics have been selling well, seeing a notable quarterly revenue increase.

In their earnings call, Activision Blizzard revealed that they raked in $1.2 billion from microtransactions during Q2 2022, which they said was a solid increase from Q1.

Call of Duty’s microtransactions have only got more ambitious as time goes on, bringing Godzilla and King Kong-themed Operator skins back with Season 3, and officially licensed Terminator skins live in Season 4 Reloaded.

“Call of Duty net bookings on console and PC grew sequentially in the second quarter, following gameplay improvements and seasonal content across Call of Duty: Vanguard and Call of Duty: Warzone that were well-received by players,” stated Activision Blizzard in their earnings call.

They also confirmed that “Net bookings for Call of Duty Mobile were consistent with the first quarter.”

However, “Activision’s second quarter segment revenue and operating income declined year-over-year, reflecting lower engagement for the Call of Duty franchise, but grew versus the first quarter.”

Despite microtransactions faring so well, Q2 2022 saw Activision’s monthly player count drop below 100 million for the first time since 2019. Back in June 2021, there were 127 million monthly active users across consoles, PC, and mobile, but this dropped to only 94 million in June 2022.

There’s no knowing what has caused this, but there are more players back at work and school, and Warzone’s devs candidly admitted that they “f**ked stuff up” with Caldera’s launch. Plus, players have been vocal in that they didn’t want another WW2 game, and have been slamming the devs over the lack of new Vanguard content.

However, Activision will be expecting a steep rise in player count and revenue when both Modern Warfare 2 and Warzone 2 release later this year.

Image Credit: Activision

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Activision report hints at new Call of Duty title in 2023

An Activision Blizzard Q2 2022 earnings press release hints at the release of a brand-new Call of Duty title in 2023.

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Call of Duty logo 2023

A previous report indicated that there wouldn’t be a Call of Duty game released in 2023 after development delays persisted. It seems these rumors may not come to fruition as an Activision report suggests there will be a premium Call of Duty title released in 2023.

Thanks to a Bloomberg report, Call of Duty fans already accepted that in 2023, they wouldn’t be getting a new CoD title for the first time in almost 20 years. While excitement for Modern Warfare 2 is high at the moment, most players were wary of a two-year game cycle.

Luckily, an August 1 report from Activision indicates that the franchise may very well receive a brand-new title in 2023.

Activision Blizzard’s Q2 2022 press release in which the company reveals their earnings for the period in question had some shocking bits of information to reveal. For starters, it seems like Vanguard and Warzone managed to increase in-game revenue in Q2.

Despite this increase, the company still produced lower year-over-year numbers than expected. There’s no telling how these poor numbers may have influenced decisions about future Call of Duty titles but it’s safe to say that Activision have lots in store when it comes to Modern Warfare 2 and Warzone 2.

In addition, to an exciting slate of 2022 releases, the report also hints at a new premium Call of Duty title in 2023.

Although nothing has been confirmed as of yet, the wording found in the report is certainly suggestive of a 2023 release.

As Activision detailed their plans for the future of the franchise they revealed that they would be, “continuing development of new premium content planned for 2023 and beyond.”

Players were quick to suggest that the premium 2023 content in question could be Modern Warfare 2 DLC or a standalone Zombies experience.

However, this is likely not the case as CharlieIntel explained: “Activision refers to the yearly CoD release as ‘premium’ as it’s paid. So definitely implying something more than just new content is coming next year.”

Stay tuned for more information concerning the possibility of a new Call of Duty title in 2023. For the time being, you can check out how to get Modern Warfare 2 beta codes by watching CDL Champs 2022.

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