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Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick sends Sony to the naughty step

In an open letter published on Substack, Kotick said he's disappointed in the PlayStation maker's response to Microsoft's proposed Activision Blizzard merger.

Chris Kerr, News Editor

March 29, 2023

2 Min Read
An executive photo of Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick
"Bobby Kotick Executive Photo" by Steven Simko (via Wikipedia/Flickr) is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

Activision Blizzard boss Bobby Kotick has chastised long term partner Sony for pushing back against the Call of Duty publisher's proposed merger with Microsoft.

In an open letter shared on Substack, Kotick said he remains confident the mammoth $68.7 billion deal will ultimately be approved, allowing Activision Blizzard to "compete in the increasingly competitive marketplace that includes rapidly growing, foreign companies that enjoy protection in their home markets."

After positioning Activision Blizzard–which recently delivered annual net bookings of $8.51 billion and saw Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II achieve the highest opening-quarter sell-through in franchise history–as some kind of global pariah, Kotick took aim at Sony.

The long-serving boss–who has been accused of enabling an endemic culture of misconduct during his time at Activision Blizzard–suggested Sony has essentially been crying wolf by sharing illegitimate concerns about the future of Call of Duty on PlayStation platforms, describing the behaviour of its platform partner as "disappointing."

"You may have seen statements from Sony, including an argument that if this deal goes through, Microsoft could release deliberately 'buggy' versions of our games on PlayStation," said Kotick, before rubbishing those remarks by claiming Activision Blizzard's "passionate players" would be the first to hold Microsoft accountable should the company renege on its pledge of content and quality parity across platforms.

"Sony has even admitted that they aren't actually concerned about a Call of Duty agreement—they would just like to prevent our merger from happening," added Kotick. "This is obviously disappointing behavior from a partner for almost 30 years, but we will not allow Sony's behavior to affect our long term relationship. PlayStation players know we will continue to deliver the best games possible on Sony platforms as we have since the launch of PlayStation."

Kotick said Activision Blizzard remains in discussions with those European and UK regulators (the latter of which recently narrowed its scope of concerns) investigating the merger, and highlighted the Japan Fair Trade Commission's recent assertions that the deal won't harm competition as another step in the right direction.

"Our team is working collaboratively with Microsoft to make sure we have answers to the many questions you have about the progress of the merger," he added. "We will continue to be helpful, supportive, and transparent as we progress through the regulatory process."

About the Author(s)

Chris Kerr

News Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Game Developer news editor Chris Kerr is an award-winning journalist and reporter with over a decade of experience in the game industry. His byline has appeared in notable print and digital publications including Edge, Stuff, Wireframe, International Business Times, and PocketGamer.biz. Throughout his career, Chris has covered major industry events including GDC, PAX Australia, Gamescom, Paris Games Week, and Develop Brighton. He has featured on the judging panel at The Develop Star Awards on multiple occasions and appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live to discuss breaking news.

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