I know that what I’m about to say may seem counterproductive to holding Activision accountable for what has, allegedly, been taking place for years. However, I think people should consider the bigger picture and not give up on a company that was founded 42 years ago.
Unfortunately, there are those out there that want to just shut out Activision entirely. While this is an understandable response to hearing abhorrent details about abuse being suffered by these employees, it’s not the most appropriate response. This company has been through drastic shifts within the industry and itself, including the video game market crash and the subsequent massive debt they took on shortly afterwards.
Either way, this is a legacy company that still manages to produce content people enjoy–even if it is a love/hate relationship. Wouldn’t it be better to try and preserve a functional time capsule?
I understand why people are jumping on the “don’t buy their games” bandwagon, but this doesn’t really fix any of the issues. While, yes, Bobby Kotick is definitely a problem, there are other factors to consider before declaring full on war against this once prestigious establishment.
First off, Bobby Kotick should not be the only one to blame. I feel like a lot of fingers are being pointed just at him, when in reality, there was a tragic breakdown in communication within the entire company. Regular employees were not being handled appropriately by middle or upper level management. Where was the HR department throughout this fiasco? SO MANY cogs in the system slipped and just kept slipping. Now we’ve come to the point were it’s impossible to say “Oh, this could have just been a couple of occurrences handled at company level.” Or “Maybe Kotick freaking out on his assistant could have been a miscommunicated joke.”
However, those doubtful thoughts have already boarded their ship and set sail. They are long gone, being replaced by unequivocal guilt for those that did nothing. Do I think Kotick needs to resign as CEO? Yes, 100%. He no longer deserves his place at the top, and it’s not even because of the cover-up. Companies do have the discretion to deal with internal matters as they see fit, but when you’re just not listening to your employees…it looks bad. For me, it’s the way he handled the initial report being broken to the press. Instead of admitting fault, Activision released a half-hearted statement about the allegations; all while claiming the reports were painting the situation in a bad light.
At this point, the employees have already suffered enough. Honestly, I agree with the employee demands, especially the one that would bring a third-party in that would objectively look at the company from all angles. Those who are found to be offenders should immediately be fired. The Board of Directors (which Bobby Kotick is seated on) should all be replaced, along with Kotick as acting CEO. These are the highest members in Activision, and they failed at the most basic levels of leadership for their employees.
Right now, Activision employees are asking people to sign a Change.org petition to remove Bobby Kotick as CEO from Activision Blizzard. They were asking for 35,000 signatures and have actually reached that goal. They are now looking to pick up 50,000 signatures. Raven Software staff members recently had a dispute with Activision Blizzard over the company’s contract dealings with the QA team. This motivated not only the QA team at Raven to walk, but at Blizzard to walkout as well. These members have started a GoFundMe page, as it’s said that Activision Blizzard is not paying the employees that walkout. They are seeking $1 million, and have gained a little over $330,000 since it was put up. The ABK Workers Alliance has also made the decision to unionize, in order to have a better bargaining chip against Activision Blizzard.
If the staff members can manage to unionize, this could drastically tip the scales in the favor of the employees. It would give them the ability to push back against Activision Blizzard, and they might actually be able to get their demands met. Unionizing is an action that should have been taken years ago, and not just by the employees of Activision Blizzard.
Another aspect everyone needs to remember is that, the State of California, the SEC, and the company’s share holders also want a piece of Activision Blizzard. While this does not excuse the behavior that followed the initial release of the misconduct and bias, it seems that Activision Blizzard is getting stretched out really thin.
Do I believe these employees should have to take these measures to get their point across? No. Should Activision Blizzard go through an internal restructuring to stop the employee suffering? Yes. I’m honestly hopeful that changes can actually be made, because I don’t want to lose such iconic studios in the industry. So don’t give up on Activision Blizzard just yet.