Last week, Activision-Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick told investors that the high demand for the company’s latest titles, including World of Warcraft: Legion and the Overwatch beta, was the result of significant audience feedback. “We heard you loud and clear,” he said during the company’s investor call. Now, Kotick has again addressed concerns over the company’s recent financial performance, and insisted that the leadership team has heard the “loud and clear” message.
The business of gaming is changing, and as a result, so are the people who are shaping the industry. Yesterday, Activision-Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick told investors that he believes the gaming industry is in the midst of a shift from a business about acquiring and monetizing content to a business about creating and distributing content. And that shift means that Activision-Blizzard has been paying attention to the community’s voice for a while.
In an interview with the Financial Times, Blizzard’s CEO Bobby Kotick discussed the company’s recent success, its growth in the mobile market, and the future of its games. “We’ve really kind of leveled up with the mobile business,” Kotick told the Financial Times. “We’re really excited about the Overwatch effect on culture.”. Read more about blizzard activision and let us know what you think.
Activision-Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick has finally officially addressed the company’s workforce in regards to the continuing sexism lawsuit and repercussions, as ATVI stock drops and Blizzard employees prepare a walkout tomorrow. He apologizes for the lack of empathy in the company’s first replies, which he describes as “tone deaf.” He writes, “The leadership team has heard you loud and clear.”
The business has presumably hired an outside legal firm to audit its policies and processes, according to the letter, which provides the contact information for that firm. According to Kotick, the company will investigate every claim, hire staff and resources to do so, create moderated safe spaces for speaking up, re-evaluate managers and fire anyone “found to have harmed the integrity of [the company’s] processes for evaluating claims,” and hire more diverse hiring “compliance resources” (we note here that the company has refused to cooperate with diversity proposals in the past). He reiterates the WoW-specific team’s previous remark that improper in-game material would be deleted, but it’s unclear which games and content he’s referring to.
He proclaims, “We will be the most inspirational, inclusive entertainment business in the world.” The letter is reproduced in its entirety below.
This has been a trying and stressful week for me.
I’d want to thank everyone who has come forward in the last few days and in the previous few weeks. I admire your bravery tremendously. Every voice counts, and we will listen more carefully now and in the future.
To be honest, our first answers to the problems we’re working on together, as well as your worries, were tone deaf.
We must respect the emotions of people who have been abused in any manner and recognize all views and experiences. I apologize for not demonstrating sufficient empathy and understanding.
Many of you have informed us that your active outreach stems from your strong feelings for the company. The fact that so many individuals have contacted out and offered their views, recommendations, and proposals for improvement demonstrates how much you care about our communities of colleagues and players – and for one another. My first goal is to ensure that we work in a safe and inviting atmosphere. You have been heard loud and clear by the leadership team.
We’re moving quickly to be the compassionate, caring business you hired us to be, as well as to guarantee a safe working environment. Discrimination, harassment, or unfair treatment of any sort are not tolerated at our company.
We’ll do all we can to ensure that, together, we can develop and create the sort of inclusive workplace that fosters innovation and inspiration.
I’ve asked WilmerHale, a law firm, to evaluate our rules and processes to ensure that we have and maintain best practices for fostering a respectful and inclusive workplace. This work will start right away. Stephanie Avakian, a member of WilmerHale’s management team and former Director of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Enforcement, will lead the WilmerHale team.
We urge anybody who has had an incident that they think violates our rules or has made them uncomfortable in the workplace to report it via one of our numerous reporting channels or to contact Stephanie. She may be contacted at [email protected] or 202-247-2725, and she and her colleagues at WilmerHale would be happy to talk with you on a private basis. Your contact information will be kept private. Of course, there will be no retribution.
We’re dedicated to long-term transformation. We will take the following steps, which will take effect immediately:
Employee Assistance. We will continue to examine each allegation and will not hesitate to take swift action if necessary. Both the Compliance and Employee Relations teams are adding senior personnel and other resources to enhance their skills in this area.
Sessions of Inquiry. We know that many of you have come up with innovative ways to enhance our culture. We’ll provide safe places for you to speak out and discuss areas for improvement, which will be monitored by third parties.
Changes in personnel. We are assessing managers and leaders throughout the organization right now. Anyone who is determined to have harmed the integrity of our procedures for assessing allegations and applying appropriate sanctions will be fired.
Hiring Procedures I issued an email earlier this year asking all recruiting managers to verify that all vacant jobs had a diverse applicant pool. We’ll beef up our compliance resources to guarantee that our recruiting supervisors are following the rules.
Changes that occur in the middle of the game. Some of our in-game material has been deemed improper by both staff and player communities. That material will be removed.
Your safety and comfort remain my top priorities, and I will use every business resource available to ensure that our workplace is as inviting, pleasant, and safe as possible.
You have my unshakable promise that we will work together to enhance our business and make it the most inspirational and inclusive entertainment company on the planet.
Following a two-year investigation, California filed a harsh discrimination and harassment lawsuit against Activision-Blizzard last week. There has been a flood of leaked memos, press releases, and apologies from current and past Activision-Blizzard executives, as well as an angry chorus of employees lifting their voices to call out abuses and falsehoods, and even some executive resignations, during the last week. Employees started signing on to an open letter criticizing the corporate reaction yesterday, after what seems to be a bungled company meeting. It has over 3200 signatures as of this evening, and a staff walkout is scheduled for tomorrow.
Oh, and don’t forget about the quarterly investor call coming up next week.
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