In the wake of Microsoft's acquisition of Activision Blizzard (opens in new tab), it has transpired that the company was looking to sell itself to other companies, namely Facebook.
Otherwise known by its new name of Meta Platforms Inc., anonymous sources told Bloomberg (opens in new tab) that CEO Bobby Kotick and the board pursued a deal with Mark Zuckerberg's company.
Apparently, Activision wasn't completely on board with Microsoft acquiring it, but it was the only company to express any serious interest. Aside from Meta, Activision did approach one other company, but its name wasn't given.
In an interview with GamesBeat (opens in new tab), Kotick possibly implied that EA could have bought out Activision, but it simply wasn't big enough.
"When you’re comparing us to, you know, $2 trillion companies and $3 trillion companies and trillion dollar companies and $500 billion companies, you realize, we may have been a big company in video gaming, but now, when you look at the landscape of who the competitors are, it’s a different world today than ever before," explains Kotick.
"I think that even if we were to have consolidated within EA, that wouldn’t have given us what we’re going to need going forward. And so you needed to have a big partner in order to be able to make it work."
Oh yeah, the scandals
In that same interview, Kotick denied that selling Activision to Microsoft had anything to do with the ongoing scandals (opens in new tab) surrounding the company. He also claimed that the drop in Activision's stock was primarily due to Overwatch 2 and Diablo 4 being delayed.
Activision was hit with a lawsuit for alleged sexual harassment, abuse, and discrimination last summer. Since then, Kotick himself was implicated in a Wall Street Journal (opens in new tab) report of not only knowing and covering up multiple incidents, but also threatening to have his assistant killed.
Kotick has been met with numerous demands by Activision employees and the general public to either resign or be fired. It's believed he will step down once the Microsoft acquisition is complete, but he'll likely still be given a substantial departing pay-out.
This will also mean Microsoft will be left to deal with the fallout of the scandals, plus the ongoing strike at Call of Duty: Warzone studio Raven Software. Some have expressed hope that, with Microsoft's new leadership, elements like the toxic working conditions will be improved, but others remain skeptical.
- Microsoft's acquisition of Activision Blizzard: what you need to know