Xbox warns it could break ties with Activision Blizzard over ‘horrific events and actions’

Activision HQ

What exactly is Microsoft threatening to do? (pic: Activison)

A day after Sony criticised Activision Blizzard, Xbox’s Phil Spencer has commented on the ‘horrific events and actions’ at the publisher.

The pressure on Activision Blizzard boss Bobby Kotick is building by the day. Yesterday PlayStation boss Jim Ryan criticised him for allowing a ‘culture of discrimination and harassment’ and today Phil Spencer, the head of Xbox, has warned he’s ‘evaluating all aspects of our relationship with Activision Blizzard and making ongoing proactive adjustments’.

What exactly is meant by this is not clear as, unlike Sony, there is no permanent marketing relationship between the two companies. Sony has co-promoted Call Of Duty for years but Activision publishes very few other games for Microsoft to have any close dealings with them.

One thing it’s likely to mean is that Microsoft will not promote Activision games for the foreseeable future, as Sony has already left them unmentioned in its list of games in the Black Friday sales.

As with Ryan, Spencer’s comments were made in an email to his staff, as obtained by Bloomberg.

The email adds that Spencer was ‘disturbed and deeply troubled by the horrific events and actions’ at Activision Blizzard, and that ‘this type of behaviour has no place in our industry’.

Spencer confirmed to IGN that the leak is real and issued an additional statement saying: ‘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’.

Activision then responded to that with their own comment: ‘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.’

Where all this is going to end is still unclear, as Activision Blizzard’s board of directors claim to still back Bobby Kotick as CEO, although that could change at any moment.

There’s already a petition by over a thousand Activision Blizzard workers calling for him to be removed and given the comments from both Sony and Microsoft his position is becoming more and more difficult by the moment.

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