Microsoft is buying Activision Blizzard Inc., a game development and interactive-entertainment content publisher, for $68.7 billion. Activision Blizzard makes games including Call of Duty, Candy Crush, Warcraft, Diablo, Overwatch, and Hearthstone. Microsoft will get Activision Blizzard's nearly 10,000 employees as part of the deal, which was announced on January 18. Microsoft officials are accelerating the growth in the company's gaming business across mobile, PC, console, and cloud, and say it "will provide building blocks for the metaverse." Microsoft also will get global eSports properties via Major League Gaming as part of the transaction. The $68.7 billion deal makes the Activision Blizzard acquisition the largest in Microsoft's history.
The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) filed a lawsuit against Activision Blizzard this week over alleged sexual harassment and discrimination against women. In a memo to staff obtained by Bloomberg reporter Jason Schreier, Blizzard Entertainment president J. Allen Brack wrote that "the allegations and the hurt of current and former employees are extremely troubling." Brack wrote that everyone should feel safe at Blizzard and that "it is completely unacceptable for anyone in the company to face discrimination or harassment." He noted it requires courage for people to come forward with their stories, and that all claims brought to the company are taken seriously and investigated. "People with different backgrounds, views, and experiences are essential for Blizzard, our teams, and our player community," Brack wrote.
Employees at the gaming giant Activision Blizzard staged a walkout today, capping off a week of escalating tension over how executives have handled accusations of discrimination and sexual harassment at the 10,000-person company. Outside Activision Blizzard's office in Irvine, California Wednesday morning, employees held signs with messages like "Believe Women," "Commit To Equality," "nerf male privilege" and "Fight bad guys in game / Fight bad guys IRL." Cars drove by honking their horns. Online, the hashtag #ActiBlizzWalkout was trending as fans of titles like World of Warcraft and Overwatch expressed overwhelming support, including pledges to boycott games for the day in solidarity. Over 200 people attended the walkout event, based on photos posted on the internet. An unknown number of other employees participated in the work stoppage remotely.
To celebrate, Replay has … some incredibly grim stories in the games sphere, sorry to say. Activision Blizzard's huge layoffs and instability in the indie gaming market aren't what anyone wants to hear about, but it's what we've got. Let's dive into this week in games. Monday was a dark day in the industry as Activision Blizzard, one of the biggest companies in the business, began the process of laying off roughly 8 percent of its staff--according to Kotaku, almost 800 people. The move comes amidst a failure to meet expectations for the 2018 fiscal year, though, notably, the company still achieved record profits, according to CEO Bobby Kotick.
Activision Blizzard had until 6PM ET on January 25th to voluntarily recognize Game Workers Alliance, a group of Raven Software employees that recently gathered the votes to unionize, backed by Communications Workers of America. That deadline passed without recognition from Activision Blizzard, and Raven employees will now move forward with plans to file for a union election through the National Labor Relations Board. "At Activision Blizzard, we deeply respect the rights of all employees to make their own decisions about whether or not to join a union," an Activision Blizzard spokesperson said. "We carefully reviewed and considered the CWA initial request last week and tried to find a mutually acceptable solution with the CWA that would have led to an expedited election process. Unfortunately, the parties could not reach an agreement."