Microsoft has “significant work to do” to build a healthier culture at Activision Blizzard, says Satya Nadella

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has acknowledged the challenges the company faces in fixing Activision Blizzard’s company culture.

Activision Blizzard, which has been mired in scandal for the past year due to its toxic culture, is set to be acquired by Microsoft in a $68.7bn deal.

In a conference call related to the acquisition, Nadella addressed the crisis Activision Blizzard has been facing – though admittedly in more polite terms.

“As CEO of Microsoft, the culture of our organization is my number one priority. This means we must continuously improve the lived experience of our employees and create an environment that allows us to constantly drive every day improvement in our culture.

“This is hard work. It requires consistency, commitment and leadership that not only talks the talk, but walks the walk. That’s why we believe it’s critical for the Activision Blizzard to drive forward on its renewed cultural commitments. We are supportive of the goal and the work Activision Blizzard is doing, and we also recognize that after close, we will have significant work to do in order to continue to build a culture where everyone can do their best work.

“And this isn’t just for about employees. Our journey of inclusion extends to creating a welcoming and safe community for all our customers, including the hundreds of millions of players who enjoy our games and interactive services. We are committed to protecting players and empowering our employees to do what they love while thriving in a safe and inclusive culture, one where everyone is invited to play. The success of this acquisition will depend on it.”

The acquisition, hailed as the largest in Microsoft’s history, is set to close in fiscal year 2023. Once closed, the Activision Blizzard business will report to Xbox head Phil Spencer – though there is little information available yet as to the future for Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick.

Activision Blizzard employees have been calling for Kotick’s removal for months now, and it remains to be seen if he will remain in his position following the close of the acquisition.

Kotick himself spoke on the call, stating that Activision Blizzard and Microsoft “couldn’t be more excited for the incredibly exciting future we have ahead and together.”

The acquisition also gives Microsoft a strong mobile presence, as mobile giant King now falls under Microsoft’s control. Later in the call, Spencer addressed the company’s new mobile presence (as well as letting the dreaded ‘M’ word slip).

“Extending our horizon a bit, this transaction will make our approach to the consumer metaverse even stronger. That’s because our vision of the metaverse is based on intersecting global communities rooted in strong franchises. A big part of that is the fact that mobile is the biggest category of gaming, and it’s an area where we have not had a major presence before. This transaction adds one of the most successful mobile publishers to Microsoft Gaming, and I’m personally looking forward to learning from the innovative teams at King.”

About Chris Wallace

Chris is a freelancer writer and was MCV/DEVELOP's staff writer from November 2019 until May 2022. He joined the team after graduating from Cardiff University with a Master's degree in Magazine Journalism. He can be found on Twitter at @wallacec42, where he mostly explores his obsession with the Life is Strange series, for which he refuses to apologise.

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