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Wednesday, November 24, 2021

The Big Three Console Manufacturers’ Responses to Activision Blizzard's Misdeeds

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - How do they compare?

You may have read my reaction to the Wall Street Journal investigation that Activision Blizzard's CEO, Bobby Kotick, knew about on-going sexual harassment in the workplace for years... and in some cases, directly contributed to it. Since then, many others have also reacted (though focused on... different aspects of it than I was), and many people, including current Activision Blizzard employees, are calling for Bobby Kotick to resign. In response, Activision Blizzard's board of directors created a “Workplace Responsibility Committee”, still fully confident that the company's current leadership can turn its toxic culture around with an extra committee laying around.

It turns out that, one way or another, the big three console manufacturers (Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft) have reacted to the story. Let's review what those reactions have been up to this point.

How Nintendo Has Reacted to Activision Blizzard

Nintendo of America has not put out a public statement, but someone from within did leak an internal email dated November 19 from president Doug Bowser to all employees to media outlet Fanbyte. This leak was later confirmed to be authentic by Nintendo to multiple outlets, though Nintendo declined to make any further public statement.

In that once-private message, President Bowser expressed that what's going on at Activision Blizzard is “disturbing” and against Nintendo's values, but fell short of promising any particular, specific action. However, Nintendo is in contact with their Activision counterparts, as well as the gaming lobbying group the Entertainment Software Association, which every company in this KoopaTV article is a part of. What those conversations look like is private and not leaked. But it seems like Nintendo wants to raise the standards of every big gaming company in America. The ESA hasn't made any public comment about the situation

While Activision Blizzard's videogames aren't a featured part of the current Black Friday deals on the Nintendo eShop (which I'll write a dedicated article about very soon), many of them are on sale right now if you choose to look for them.

How Sony/PlayStation Has Reacted to Activision Blizzard

Bloomberg, a FAKE NEWS outlet, reported an internal PlayStation email from head Jim Ryan to their employees sent November 17. In that email, Jim Ryan explained how Sony immediately reached out to their Activision counterparts asking what they're going to do about their toxic culture, and Sony didn't find Activision's responses to be compelling. Sony included that they also want safe work environments for all employees. I don't believe Sony added any public comment, and I'm not entirely sure the email was confirmed to be authentic, but we'll assume it is.

The PlayStation Store currently and prominently features Activision Blizzard games like Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare for 50% off on page 1 of their Black Friday page.

PlayStation Store Black Friday 2021 Deals Activision Call of Duty Modern Warfare Black Ops 50% off
Clearly Sony still wishes to profit with their abusive business partner Activision Blizzard, despite their concern.

How Microsoft/Xbox Has Reacted to Activision Blizzard

Bloomberg also reported that Phil Spencer, head of Xbox, sent out an internal email on November 18 to employees stating that Microsoft is currently re-evaluating its business relationship with Activision due to Activision's disturbing and troubling workplace culture. This email is authentic according to Phil Spencer saying so to IGN, but unlike Nintendo (and certainly unlike Sony), Spencer added additional PUBLIC colour to the situation. It wasn't anything particularly interesting, just reiterating that Microsoft wants a safe and inclusive working environment for everyone too.

Unlike the PlayStation Store, I could not find an Activision Blizzard game on sale on the front page of the Xbox Black Friday Sale—though their games are on sale at the moment and quite purchasable if you choose to look for them.

It's not my position that all of the companies should immediately cut ties with Activision Blizzard (as much as I think the industry would benefit from that, and not just because of this discrimination stuff and Bobby Kotick being a sleazebag—if you look close enough, all three of the companies have their own imperfect workplaces too), but I do think if the companies are going to take this very seriously, they shouldn't be disapproving of Activision in one hand and enabling them with the other. Microsoft and Nintendo have a good balance there (and Microsoft made the strongest statement so far, especially in relation to how actually important Activision is for their business, as opposed to the lesser importance of Nintendo and Activision)... Sony, however, is shameless.

Ah well, we can always leave it up to you, the customer, to decide if you do or don't want to support Activision Blizzard. And if you're like me, you won't be doing that.

How do you feel about the console manufacturers’ responses? Should more be done? Do you think Activision will change with their new workplace committee? Should Bobby Kotick be given one more chance? Do you think that all three companies’ private communications being leaked to the media was pre-planned? Let KoopaTV know in the comments section!

Here's that Cyber Deals article.
Phil Spencer's action re-evaluated its business relationship with Activision, and the result of that was... outright acquiring Activision Blizzard.


  1. To my knowledge the only Activision product I own is Spyro Reignited Trilogy. That was before the allegations became publicly known. Not sure if me not getting another Activision product since then will put me in the category of not supporting them like Prince Ludwig.

  2. I saw the word Activision and immediately thought negative, regardless of this situation. I wonder if Activision just fired and complete replaced all their workers, would they be able to redeem themselves? As far as I know they just have such a bad reputation, any “good” thing they do seems fake. Or ends up being disappointing.


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