The controversial CEO of Activision Blizzard is set to leave the company in 2024, after he helps oversee the Microsoft acquisition.
It was no surprise when it finally came, but Activision Blizzard is now officially property of Microsoft, including mobile games publisher King and franchises ranging from Call Of Duty to Warcraft and Overwatch.
The final announcement has only been a matter of time, since Microsoft won its US court case in August, but now that it’s happened one lingering question has been resolved: what will happen to Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick.
It’s now confirmed he will leave in 2024, possibly as early as January, but that he will remain on for the rest of this year in order to ‘ensure a smooth and seamless integration.’
In the meantime, Kotick will report to Xbox boss Phil Spencer, although there’s no way that Activision Blizzard will be fully integrated into the rest of Microsoft in just a couple of months.
There have been long-running questions about Micorosft’s management of the companies it’s been buying, and Activision Blizzard is already embroiled in a scandal about its toxic workplace conditions – indeed the controversy, and its effect on the company’s share price, is the only reason Microsoft could afford it in the first place.
As a consequence of the acquisition, Kotick and the rest of the executive board have resigned as directors of the company, although many are likely to be taken back on afterwards.
All will receive significant monetary bonuses as a result of the acquisition, which is the main reason Kotick was sticking around, despite multiple attempts to remove him over the last few years.
‘Phil has asked me to stay on as CEO of ABK, reporting to him, and we have agreed that I will do that through the end of 2023. We both look forward to working together on a smooth integration for our teams and players,’ said Kotick in a statement.
Kotick has been unpopular with gamers for years, for his dismissive comments towards developers and fans alike, but he’s no better loved by his own employees, who more than once have petitioned for him to be fired.
The first was when he was responsible for almost 800 job cuts in 2019, while personally taking home $30 million a year, and then again when he was accused of purposefully underplaying details of toxic workplace conditions to the company’s executive board.
He was even personally involved in one incident, when he left a voice mail message about having one of his assistants killed, which he later described as ‘hyperbolic and inappropriate’ – before settling out of court.
The reason Kotick has been able to stay on so long, despite these and other incidents, is simple: he’s very good at making money for the company.
Activision as it exists today has barely any connection to the Activision of the 1980s, as Kotick essentially just bought the name and helped build it into the publishing empire it is today.
The only time’s Kotick’s position has ever seemed vulnerable is when the company has not been doing so well, such as during the launch of Call Of Duty: Vanguard, but that was never anywhere close enough to oust him.
Few will mourn his departure, but the fact remains that Bobby Kotick is one of the most successful video game bosses of all time and as a CEO that’s all his peers care about.
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