Activision Blizzard workers speak out after Bobby Kotick’s CEO exit

After former Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick finally stepped down, current and ex-employees have spoken out about his leadership.

Widowmaker swings into view dressed in her Kerrigan costume for the Overwatch 2 Winter Wonderland event.

After 32 years, Bobby Kotick is no longer the CEO of Overwatch 2 maker Activision Blizzard. Following the videogame company’s monumental merger with Microsoft, Kotick stepped down on Friday, December 29. Not even 24 hours after his leave, current and former workers at Activision Blizzard have taken to social media to share claims of the former CEO not listening to concerns, threatening employees, and being a poor leader.

On Twitter, a former Call of Duty programmer at Demonware, Christina Pollock, broke their silence after Kotick’s final day as CEO, alleging that the FPS games came out “worse” due to his “decisions.”

“In my first month it came out he threatened to have an employee killed,” Christina added. “In the all-hands that followed, no-one wanted to speak first. So I demanded his firing in front of everyone…We all need to revolt against people like this, every time.”

This statement refers to a situation that transpired in 2006, where Kotick sent a voicemail threatening to have his assistant killed. A spokesperson for Kotick told the Wall Street Journal in 2021 that Kotick “deeply regrets” saying that, but workers aren’t convinced.

A current Activision Blizzard community development manager, Andy Belford, spoke on Kotick’s refusal to address employee concerns on Twitter. Workers knew Overwatch 2 would have reviewed poorly on Steam and begged higher-ups for more resources, but demands were reportedly “all flatly denied.” Andy learned that Kotick had pushed for a Steam launch with no additional help to support the community team.

“This is only one example of the culture Kotick bred at AB: [everything] flowed downstream, usually landing on the lowest paid and most overworked individuals. Management was too busy reacting to wildly vacillating direction and decisions that made zero sense,” Andy wrote.

Kotick’s legacy as CEO may have brought in record profits for Activision Blizzard, but it’s clear from employee accounts that his run wasn’t celebrated by all. The hope for current workers is that his exit inspires a new, positive age for the company under Microsoft, but only time will tell. 

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