Activision Blizzard’s highest priority has been the Call of Duty franchise — that’s nothing new. Announcing a new studio to work on the franchise on the same day the company is looking to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit is very gauche, even if it happens to be a coincidence.
Per GI.biz, Activision is opening a second location for Beenox, a studio dedicated to supporting the key Call of Duty teams. Beenox is currently located in Quebec City, Quebec and will open a sister site in Montreal, in the same province. Doing so will increase the staff count by 20%. Current Beenox studio head Nour Polloni will oversee the new addition.
The announcement of the studio came at a bad time. The same day, news broke that Activision Blizzard is looking to settle its sexual harassment lawsuit for $18 million. To be clear, the company did not announce the settlement itself — a federal court judge just happened to approve the settlement the same day. Intentional or not, the stories paint a poor picture when viewed side by side. The $18 million settlement is peanuts to a company like Activision Blizzard, as that amount is merely a quarter of a percent of the company’s acquisition value when compared to Microsoft’s near-$70 billion deal. Again, the two stories breaking together is a coincidence, but they serve to illustrate where Activision Blizzard’s priorities lie.