Bobby Kotick addressed employee retention, his ongoing CEO role, and the metaverse in Activision Blizzard “fireside chat”

“I will stay as long as is necessary to ensure that we have a great integration and a great transition.”

Image via Activision Blizzard

Days after the monumental announcement of Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard, CEO Bobby Kotick addressed company employees for a Thursday morning Zoom webinar “fireside chat.” According to a transcript of the conversation provided to Gamepur, Kotick answered what he claimed were the most frequently asked questions submitted by employees. The Zoom call did not have a live chat for employees, and only Kotick and CPO Julie Hodges were on-screen; an anonymous Activision Blizzard employee noted to Gamepur a “pre-recorded” feel to the conversation.

While Kotick provided little new concrete information regarding the pending Microsoft deal, he attempted to respond to concerns current Activision Blizzard employees have in the wake of the earth-shattering news. In answering “why Microsoft and why now,” Kotick cited access to “more talent” and “more technical resources” through the tech corporation, also claiming that Microsoft “had an admiration and respect” greater than any company Activision Blizzard had interacted with. Kotick cited increasing competition from companies, specifically citing Tencent, Apple, and Sony, which Kotick saw as justification for such resources.

Regarding the workplace transgressions and issues that have defined Activision Blizzard in the news over the past several months, Kotick described a “shared journey” between both companies in improving the workplace. In acknowledging concerns of job security, Kotick claimed that early discussions had him comforted that Microsoft “fully appreciated how important that was for [Activision Blizzard] to recognize and reward and retain all of [the company’s] people,” following up by saying that Microsoft has provided the company with the tools to “retain, reward, and recognize as many people as possible.” Kotick did not specify or elaborate on the characterization of “reward” to employees.

Kotick fell short of making any promises regarding potential layoffs, which is often a consequence of corporate consolidation and mergers. Regarding his own job as CEO, however, Kotick indicated that he wouldn’t be going away any time soon. Without acknowledging the ongoing lawsuits and striking employees, Kotick stated his commitment to “remain in his role once the deal closes,” for “as long as is necessary to ensure that we have a great integration and a great transition.”

Otherwise, Kotick continued to glow about the metaverse as a “collection of communities,” eventually evolving to one of “franchise-based communities” in a shared virtual world. Kotick also reiterated the possibility of IPs such as Guitar Hero and Skylanders returning with the newfound manufacturing capability of Microsoft.

Throughout the chat, Kotick emphasized that the transaction was “incredible” for stakeholders — and “especially employees” as well. With the last word, Kotick attempted to assure employees that they are what made the acquisition possible: “It is what Microsoft is most excited about, is our people.”