Whoa, this is absolutely bonkers. It does explain Phil Spencer softening his language on A-B recently. Here’s hoping this leads to an immediate cleanout of Kotick and his cronies and the devs are able to get the equitable conditions they deserve.
I’m entertaining myself with the idea that Phil Spencer went full Affleck Batman and bought A-B just to get rid of Bobby Kotick.
I’m hoping that means “Bobby’s only here to keep the lights on until the deal closes” and not that Phil Spencer dashed my hopes and dreams
do microsoft studios generally have a reputation for good conditions or do we just not hear about it as much as everyone else
I really hope that’s the case. If Microsoft is seen interfering with A-B’s board then that could be a showstopper for the SEC. Although even in an ideal case, Kotick and his minions are going to be pushed out the door with ungodly cash.
@hideokojima No idea! I think it’s better than outright sexual assault but who knows anymore.
Tough to tell. I know there was definitely some crunch on Halo Infinite but I also know that Microsoft pushing it a year and hiring on some extra help to get it over the finish line kept it from being a Cyberpunk-style death march. I can’t imagine that Microsoft would be any more pro-union than A-B, but they have enough creative talent floating around there now that they could take out the trash with relative ease.
It might make the culture better long-term, but I imagine somebody currently at Activision also has to worry about getting laid off post-merger. And now Microsoft claims it won’t remove Kotick? Bad all around for me.
Yeah, if they don’t ultimately get rid of Bobby, this whole exercise was a net negative. Just hand A-B a pile of cash for the old IP they don’t use anymore and be on your way.
On losing Kotick: there seems to be a lot of conflicting reporting, with it confirmed he’s staying on during the merger, but that after A/B will report to Phil Spencer as CEO. Doesn’t mention removing Kotick post-merger directly, but that would make sense for myriad reasons - and there are quite possibly contractual legal reasons they aren’t saying “yeah, he’s out”.
Of course should things prove otherwise I’ll be very disappointed (disappointed, but not surprised - this is a massive, monopoly-building corporation we’re talking about here; of course they’re going to disappoint).
Kotick is shit but only a part of the problems at A-B. I don’t expect an acquisition to make real change on that, but I suppose one can always hope. Have they ever brought about more worker power, though?
Other than that, Microsoft owning yet another large part of the gaming landscape is really bad.
An acquisition can at least align A-B’s structures with Microsoft’s and give Microsoft the authority to clean house in upper management. It’s better than a kick in the head, but it’s probably not enough to drive real change.
If I’m being really honest with myself, even if they do clean house and send Bobby packing, this is still a net negative for the games industry. I feel like we’re frogs slowly being boiled by the relative goodwill Microsoft has generated with Game Pass and Phil Spencer doing a good impression of being a human being. Then in like, 2026 when Microsoft owns 70% of the games industry they raise Game Pass to be $50 a month
This fucking sucks. Phil Spencer and MSFT enriching the A-B leadership for years of their shitty and illegal behavior makes them the villains. Game Pass is a great deal and all but it shouldn’t excuse this shit.
I feel like we’re frogs slowly being boiled by the relative goodwill Microsoft has generated with Game Pass
Yeah. I think a gamepass style thing can be good in that it allows for more people to try a variety of games, including ones outside their comfort zone. But I worry about the power Microsoft will wield once gamepass locks in a ton of players by being the best way to play Halo, COD, Overwatch, and the latest Bethesda open world.
E: I also wonder what this does to the unionization efforts. Do they stall out as Microsoft (hopefully) gets rid of a significant chunk of ABK’s upper management? Or do those efforts now spread throughout the other Microsoft studios?
I imagine the unionization effort marches on but I can’t imagine Microsoft would be any more receptive to it than A-B. Management. Management never changes.
Also I want to go back in time to 1998 and watch people’s heads explode at the notion of Microsoft owning Doom, Starcraft, and Zork.
anti-trust laws are so fake lmao
This is where I wish I knew something about corporate law, but at what point in the merger does this announcement come? Is this like, “the parties involved have reached an agreement that’s been given the thumbs up by the FTC and we’re just announcing it now” or is this “we have a deal assuming the FTC doesn’t throw a penalty flag”
Today they are announcing the intention to acquire A-B. Presumably, both companies’ legal departments have reviewed it and feel comfortable that it will go through. The actual purchase is pending regulatory review and Microsoft expects it to close next year.
It’s also why a lot of folks think Kotick’s team will still be given the boot. Right now the companies are separate entities so Microsoft legally cannot compel changes at A-B.