Activision Blizzard devs share horror stories about Bobby Kotick after CEO’s departure

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Bobby Kotick is officially no longer the CEO of Activision Blizzard, which means that employees can now share details about working conditions under his reign without fear of retaliation, and the horror stories began flowing in immediately.

It’s been public knowledge for quite some time now that the working conditions created by Kotick were far from ideal. In fact, the well-known Blizzard workplace scandal wasn’t even Kotick’s first involvement with a sexual harassment suit: that started way back in 2007 when an employee of a private jet company created by Kotick was fired after reporting sexual harassment in the workplace. Now, skeletons are falling out of the closet with a newfound intensity.

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Image via Activision

Christina Pollock is a writer, developer, and programmer who worked on Call of Duty via Demonware for two years. Immediately after Kotick’s official departure from Activision Blizzard, Pollock shared a tweet briefly detailing some of her personal experiences with the former CEO. In the tweet, she recalls an emergency all-hands meeting in which everybody was genuinely afraid to speak out.

That meeting, and transiently the fear of speaking first, was made necessary because of a death threat that Kotick made to an employee came to light. While Pollock’s tweet doesn’t provide details of the threat, a 2021 Business Insider report delineates a death threat made to a former assistant via voicemail, citing the Wall Street Journal as the source for the story. Presumably, this is the incident that Pollock is referring to.

More recently, you may remember when Overwatch 2 was ported over to Steam in August and was met with overwhelmingly negative reviews. According to Andy Belford, the senior manager of community development for Blizzard from June 2021 to September 2023, Kotick was warned about the likelihood of this review bomb.

In fact, Belford said in a tweet yesterday that the team spent months warning about the imminent review bombing and begging for more information and resources to help mitigate the influx. Apparently, every request of this kind was “flatly denied” by Kotick, who went on to blame the game for Activision Blizzard’s declining stock price.

Activision Blizzard has had a rocky few years, and a change of leadership was on the cards regardless of how the Microsoft acquisition turned out. It’s still unclear exactly who will take up the mantle of CEO; whetherBobby Kotick will remain in the gaming industry at all is similarly still undetermined.





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