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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

Will Call of Duty stay on PlayStation after Microsoft’s Activision buyout?

PlayStation fans may have some questions regarding the new Xbox acquisition, including whether Call of Duty will be on the platform.

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activision blizzard call of duty playstation

After the huge news about Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision, PlayStation players are wondering what will happen with future Call of Duty releases.

Since the news broke about Microsoft’s purchase of Activision, the gaming community has gone crazy worldwide. The deal is arguably the biggest acquisition in gaming history and was even worth more than Disney’s purchase of the Star Wars franchise (Lucasfilms).

The deal has a lot of question marks surrounding it at the moment, but for those PlayStation users who are confused as to what it means for Call of Duty on the platform, here’s all the information you need.

Activision blizzard logo

The deal involves games under Activision and Activision Blizzard, which subsequently means Xbox will own Call of Duty.

This took the community by surprise when it was announced and naturally, a lot of people had questions.

For example, Call of Duty have had a close relationship with PlayStation for some years now, giving them exclusive/early access to content, so what will happen after the deal goes through?

Will Call of Duty still be on PlayStation?

Xbox’s Phil Spencer, the CEO of Microsoft gaming, confirmed in a statement to Bloomberg that the purchase was not intended for pulling players away from Sony’s consoles, giving PS players hope that things won’t change in terms of Call of Duty’s availability on the platform.

Nothing is confirmed regarding the deal, as the companies will remain independent from each other until 2023. This means that Call of Duty 2022 will likely retain a lot of the PlayStation exclusivity deals that have been around and PS players won’t have to worry about losing content to Xbox.

It wouldn’t be wise for Microsoft to pull Call of Duty games from PlayStation, as the franchise remains the best-selling game on PlayStation platforms in the U.S. and has been for years, with Vanguard recently topping the charts for 2021.

What can be said however, is that exclusivity deals may shift from PlayStation to Xbox after the deal is closed. Call of Duty games may even be seen on the Xbox Game Pass on release, but this is all still just speculation.


So, there you have it, Call of Duty will likely remain on PlayStation platforms but the exclusive content may shift over to Xbox and PC. For more, check out every Warzone weapon ranked.

Image Credits: PlayStation / Xbox / Microsoft / Activision / Retail Tracking Service / The NDP Group

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Microsoft to acquire Call of Duty publisher Activision Blizzard

Microsoft have officially announced that they have acquired Call of Duty publisher Activision Blizzard in a deal costing nearly $70 billion.

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Microsoft buying Activision Blizzard

Microsoft has announced that they’re set to acquire Call of Duty publisher Activision Blizzard in a deal nearing $70 billion.

Xbox owner Microsoft has announced that they’re taking over Activision Blizzard, the publisher behind Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, and Overwatch.

Microsoft said on January 18, 2022, that they’re acquiring Activision, Blizzard, and King for nearly $70 billion to “bring the joy and community of gaming to everyone, across every device.” They’ve also announced plans to bring Activision Blizzard titles to Xbox Game Pass in the future.

Activision Blizzard logo

In a post on the Xbox website, Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer said that “we will offer as many Activision Blizzard games as we can within Xbox Game Pass and PC Game Pass, both new titles and games from Activision Blizzard’s incredible catalog.”

And not only that, they said that “Microsoft and Activision Blizzard will empower players to enjoy the most-immersive franchises, like “Halo” and “Warcraft,” virtually anywhere they want.” We’ll need to wait and see how involved Activision Blizzard will be with Microsoft’s franchises such as Halo.

Activision currently have a partnership with Sony, giving Call of Duty players on PlayStation exclusive cosmetics, Double XP events, and more. With Activision moving to Microsoft, the Sony deal will presumably end.

But, it’s unlikely that Call of Duty will become Xbox and PC exclusive, as Microsoft said: “Activision Blizzard games are enjoyed on a variety of platforms and we plan to continue to support those communities moving forward.”

The deal will cost Microsoft “$95.00 per share, in an all-cash transaction valued at $68.7 billion,” which makes it “the world’s third-largest gaming company by revenue, behind Tencent and Sony.”

Phil Spencer said that “until this transaction closes, Activision Blizzard and Microsoft Gaming will continue to operate independently.” Current CEO Bobby Kotick will remain in charge, but once the deal, which is set to close in the fiscal year 2023, is completed, Activision Blizzard will report to Spencer.

Activision Blizzard is currently being investigated by the SEC over sexual misconduct and discrimination allegations. Phil Spencer announced, “Microsoft is committed to our journey for inclusion in every aspect of gaming, among both employees and players” and said that “We hold all teams, and all leaders, to this commitment.”

This is a developing story, so we’re likely to know more about the deal in the coming months.

Image Credit: Activision / Microsoft

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Activision files lawsuit against notable cheat provider EngineOwning

Activision has filed a lawsuit against EngineOwning, one of Warzone’s most prolific cheat and hack distributors.

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Warzone player running and a judge's gavel

Activision have made a new attempt to stamp out cheat providers, filing a lawsuit against EngineOwning, one of the most prolific distributors of hacks.

Cheating is a major issue in Warzone and despite the introduction of the RICOCHET anti-cheat system, hacking is still running wild on Caldera. In fact, these cheaters are so brazen, they’ve started to actively mock developers Raven with their in-game names.

It should come as no surprise that Activision are trying to shut down these cheaters for good, and the publishers of Call of Duty have once again filed a lawsuit against a site that distributes these hacks.

Warzone Pacific Sniper Rifle

In a suit filed in the State of California on January 4, Activision took aim at EngineOwning, claiming that their cheats have caused “millions of dollars” in damages, and that they are “developing new cheating software” for another of their titles in Overwatch.

Activision is seeking “to put a stop to unlawful conduct by an organization that is distributing and selling for profit numerous malicious software products designed to enable members of the public to gain unfair advantages.”

“These ongoing activities damage Activision’s games, its overall business, and the experience of the CoD player community,” it continues. “This Court must put a stop to [the] defendants’ misconduct, and Activision is entitled to monetary damages, injuctive and other equitable relief, and punitive damages.”

Operators fighting in Warzone Pacific

EngineOwning is one of the largest cheat providers for Call of Duty right now, with the cheat provider continuously attempting to circumvent Activision’s anti-cheat efforts. EngineOwning’s next steps are unclear, and it remains to be seen whether the operation, which is allegedly maintained by an individual in Germany, is shut down.

Activision has made efforts as of December to stop hackers in Call of Duty with the launch of RICOCHET Anti-Cheat software, including a PC kernel-level driver for Warzone.

This system has had successes, with 48,000 cheaters banned in December, leaving hackers begging Activision for a second chance.

Image Credits: Activision / Raven Software / Ekaterina Bolovtsova: Pexels

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