As first reported by Bloomberg, Vice President of Gaming for Microsoft sent an email to Xbox staff on Thursday, in which he revealed that Xbox is "evaluating all aspects of our relationship with Activision Blizzard and making ongoing proactive adjustments." He further stated that he is "disturbed and deeply troubled by the horrific events and actions" taken by Activision Blizzard in the past, and this week.
Sony's head of PlayStation Jim Ryan also condemned Activision Blizzard's response to allegations this week, saying in an email to employees on Wednesday, also first reported by Bloomberg, that, "We outreached to Activision immediately after the article was published to express our deep concern and to ask how they plan to address the claims made in the article. . . We do not believe their statements of response properly address the situation.”
Xbox and Playstation are the latest high-profile companies to condemn Activision Blizzard's response to new allegations published by Wall Street Journal this week, claiming that CEO Bobby Kotick knowingly covered up sexual abuse at the company and hid it from his board, among other things. In response to the allegations, ABK's board held a vote of confidence in the CEO, releasing a statement in which they unequivocally stood by him, sparking outrage from ABK employees, the games community, and now Xbox and Sony.
Both Sony and Xbox have held close relationships with Activision Blizzard now and in the past. Sony is currently the system that Activision hosts all their CDL matches on, and Xbox previously held an exclusive deal to have Call of Duty pro play take place on their platform. Additionally, both companies allow ABK to publish numerous titles on their respective systems.
The statements from two of the largest console producers in the world were released following the second walkout by Activision Blizzard employees this year, this time with workers demanding that Kotick be removed from his leadership position and that a third-party audit commence over the WSJ report. Over 150 employees reportedly walked off the ABK Irvine campus on Tuesday, with many more stepping away from their remote positions to stand against the protection of abusers at ABK.
Additionally, a group of ABK shareholders called the Strategic Organizing Center also called for the resignation of Kotick this week, though the group only holds a small percentage of shares in the company and has been critical of Bobby Kotick for a long time.
With mounting pressure on ABK, their share value has dropped 7 percent this week alone. But even with the dropping stock price, which has fallen 30% on the year, ABK appears to be firmly committed to keeping Kotick in charge.
Aaron is an esports reporter with a background in media, technology, and communication education.