Friday, March 1, 2024

Bobby Kotick addresses making crucial Activision Blizzard changes in new letter

Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard and someone who has recently been served summons due to the ongoing investigation of conduct from employees within the publishing organization, has released a letter detailing new changes to the workplace.

The letter, which can be viewed here, starts with Kotick reiterating his desire for Activision Blizzard to become known as the most inclusive and welcoming company in the industry. With that goal in mind, the letter goes on to detail the changes that Kotick plans to make in order to create an Activision Blizzard that their employees will be proud of.

Overall, the letter highlights five changes. These are:

  • Zero-tolerance of harassment policy, company-wide – the letter says that before the company has given verbal and written warnings before, with some having led to termination. But now that’s about to change, with strict new rules and guidelines. Furthermore, if an employee retaliates against anyone making a complaint, they will be terminated immediately.
  • Increase women and non-binary people working at Activision Blizzard by 50% – by investing $250 million to “accelerate opportunities for diverse talent”, Kotick hopes to increase women and non-binary professionals within the company over the next 5 years. The investment includes “partnerships with colleges and technical schools serving under-represented communities, mentorships for participants, and a rotating apprenticeship program that leads to game development jobs”.
  • Waiving required arbitration of sexual harassment and discrimination claims – before employees would need to get an arbitrator during matters of sexual harassment and discrimination, now that is no longer the case.
  • Increased visibility on pay equity – Kotick states that the company will be transparent with pay equity, and will report on this annually.
  • Provide regular updates – Activision Blizzard will monitor the progress of its “business units, franchise teams, and functional leaders with respect to workplace initiatives”. They will share the progress in their annual report to shareholders.

Another thing that stood out in the letter was Bobby Kotick stating that, alongside all these changes, he asked the board to reduce his payment to “the lowest amount California law will allow for people earning a salary, which this year is $62,500”. It is a reduction of Kotick’s overall compensation, and not just his salary and he has asked “not to receive any bonuses or be granted any equity during this time.”

The letter ends with Kotick stating he is grateful for how many people care about Activision Blizzard.

As of now, ABK, a group of Blizzard and Activision employees with a desire for a better Activision Blizzard, has not commented on the letter.

Aimee Hart

[She/They] Aimee Hart is Editor-in-Chief of Gayming Magazine. She specializes in queer fandom, video games and tabletop, having started her career writing for numerous websites like The Verge, Polygon, Input Magazine and more. Her goal now is to boost LGBTQ+ voices in the video games industry.