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Activision Blizzard Fires Dozens of Employees Due to Misconduct

Activision Blizzard

The ongoing backlash against Activision Blizzard has been well-reported on by this point. You would be hard-pressed to find a gamer who is connected to social media who isn’t aware of the rampant abuse and harassment allegations against the company leadership. So when news broke this week of a $70 billion deal to acquire the company through Microsoft, gamers and the press were stunned.

From the reprisals and walkouts, to the widespread issues with management not caring about the root causes, everyone is angry at Activision Blizzard. The idea that a company this rampantly infested with problematic leadership gets rewarded with a big payday, and gets to remain largely the same, is a big shock.

It would seem that the company is at least trying to change things. The Wall Street Journal has reported that 37 Activision Blizzard employees have been fired since July, with 44 others still awaiting punishment.

With all of the newly-owned Microsoft IPs there’s going to be a big shift in the games industry over the next year. So some cost-cutting and layoffs are expected, but what some are calling for is much more impactful. The simple fact of the matter is that you cannot allow the leadership team that allowed this abuse for this long to remain in place. For Phil Spencer to retweet about female representation in gaming on the same day that this buyout news broke, screams performative change.

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It remains to be seen how much will actually change given that embattled CEO Bobby Kotick will remain in place. It’s highly likely that he knew this move was coming when he said that he would leave if issues aren’t fixed “with speed”. Like many in the industry, no one really thinks that things will get better until Kotick is gone, and I agree.

The fact is, that firing a few senior managers won’t fix a broken system if you keep the high-level management that empowered and protected the abusers. What’s to stop the issues if the same toxic people continue to direct the company? That’s like putting an arsonist in charge of a fire department. A thing that actually happened, and the mass resignations and protests which followed are entirely justified; they’re just as justified with Activision Blizzard as well.

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