Xbox Threatens To Cut Ties With Activision
Is there anyone greater than Phil Spencer right now? Steering the Microsoft ship into a new era, the gaming boss has already solidified the future of the Xbox by confirming The Elder Scrolls 6 will be an Xbox exclusive. With Microsoft celebrating 20 years of the Xbox, Spencer has been hitting the interview scene with a lot of different views.
He's spoken out against the craze of NFTs, and if that wasn't enough, has made his stance on the Activision Blizzard case very clear. As the pressure mounts on Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick, Spencer says Microsoft could cut ties with the publishing powerhouse.
What Has Spencer Said About Xbox And Activision?
Things with the Activision Blizzard case are coming to a head, as pressure mounts for Kotick to step aside. In an email seen by Bloomberg, Spencer vowed to evaluate "all aspects of our relationship with Activision Blizzard and making ongoing proactive adjustments." Spencer said he is "disturbed and deeply troubled by the horrific events and actions" that have been coming from Activision Blizzard Inc.
Spencer then referred to a Wall Street Journal article that claims Kotick knew of sexual harassment within the company, as well as claims he mistreated women within. "This type of behavior has no place in our industry," clarified Spencer. The update comes after those on high has stood by Kotick. This has led to over 1,000 Activision Blizzard employees have signed a petition calling for the Activision Blizzard CEO to be removed from his position.
In a follow-up statement to IGN, Spencer added, "I personally have strong values for a welcoming and inclusive environment for all of our employees at Xbox. This is not a destination but a journey that we will always be on. The leadership at Xbox and Microsoft stand by our teams and support them in building a safer environment for all."
Spencer's words come after PlayStation boss Jim Ryan echoed similar sentiments and said his own team was "disheartened and frankly stunned to read" that Activision Blizzard "has not done enough to address a deep-seated culture of discrimination and harassment."
What Could The Ramifications Of An Xbox Split Mean For Activision?
Away from the harrowing claims coming from within the ranks of Activision Blizzard HQ, let's look at what a split could mean for both sides. Activision has mega-bucks franchises like Call of Duty, Overwatch, and Diablo under its umbrella, and it might be hard to imagine a future where our yearly CoD release is blacklisted from Xbox. Then again, it's positive to hear that someone with as much power as Spencer is contemplating decapitating this lucrative partnership.
A CoD-free Xbox might sound unthinkable, but isn't that exactly what Activision Blizzard wants you to think? While Microsoft might be hit in the pocket, it's ultimately the publisher/developer that will lose out on this one. Let's remember that Microsoft helping put CoD on Xbox Live is largely what led to the franchise's current status as one of the biggest first-person shooters out there.
Activision Blizzard has taken note of what its biggest partners are saying. Also responding to IGN, a spokesperson said, "We respect all feedback from our valued partners and are engaging with them further. We have detailed important changes we have implemented in recent weeks, and we will continue to do so. We are committed to the work of ensuring our culture and workplace are safe, diverse, and inclusive. We know it will take time, but we will not stop until we have the best workplace for our team."
There's a dark cloud hanging over the gaming industry right now, but it's refreshing to see a largely united front supporting those who have spoken out, while banding against those who are the heart of these grim accusations. Whether this is enough for those affected remains to be seen. Either way, expect to see a very different landscape as we move into 2022 and beyond.