Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick to step down from the company once it is fully acquired by Microsoft, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal. Sources who spoke with WSJ and are familiar with the situation indicate that once the deal goes through, which is currently expected to happen sometime before June 2023, Kotick will be stepping down.
Activision Blizzard still faces a lawsuit and other legal problems, with allegations over the past several months that the company allowed systemic sexist workplace practices to go unpunished, alongside allegations of abuse.
Prior to news of this acquisition, head of Xbox Phil Spencer noted that Xbox had changed some things about working with Activision Blizzard, though he declined to offer details.
“We have changed how we do certain things with them, and they’re aware of that. But I also — this isn’t about, for us as Xbox, virtue-shaming other companies. Xbox’s history is not spotless,” Spencer said.
Microsoft is acquiring Activision Blizzard for almost $70 billion, which is practically nine times the $7.5 billion that Microsoft paid to acquire ZeniMax Media, parent company of Bethesda Softworks, back in September 2020. When the deal closes, the Xbox first-party family will consist of 32 different studios across three publishers. Activision Blizzard manages multiple teams, with franchises in its portfolio such as Call of Duty, Diablo, Starcraft and World of Warcraft.