Something interesting is happening. Microsoft Xbox boss Phil Spencer tells staff he’s ‘Deeply Troubled’. Following a bombshell Wall Street Journal report that Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick allegedly knew, withheld, and even participated in the harassment and abusive behavior, that the company’s big console partners Sony and Microsoft are semi-privately expressing their distress.
Bloomberg is now reporting that Microsoft boss Phil Spencer has now told staff he was “disturbed and deeply troubled by the horrific events and actions” at Activision Blizzard and that Microsoft is “evaluating all aspects of our relationship with Activision Blizzard and making ongoing proactive adjustments” as a result.
Microsoft Xbox boss Phil Spencer tells staff he’s ‘Deeply Troubled’
“The Bloomberg report is accurate,” a Microsoft spokesperson tells The Verge. Microsoft has also shared a generic, completely unrelated statement about that’s about how Microsoft wants a “welcoming and inclusive environment for all of our employees at Xbox.”
Yesterday, Sony PlayStation boss Jim Ryan similarly told its employees that the company had expressed a “deep concern” with Activision Blizzard, according to Bloomberg, adding that “[we] do not believe their statements of response properly address the situation.”
The Private Statements from Sony and Microsoft
These private statements from Sony and Microsoft obviously do not carry anywhere near the same weight as if these companies publicly called out the situation at Activision Blizzard, and it’s not clear if either company is really interested in taking any concrete actions yet.
Activision Blizzard is actually one of the most powerful publishers in the video game industry, and both console makers are relying on them to provide new big-budget games for their consoles.
That said, Microsoft and Sony also want to be seen as committed to a less toxic video game industry, and Phil Spencer, in particular, has made combating toxicity part of his public brand.
“This type of behavior has no place in our industry,” reads part of Spencer’s new memo about Activision Blizzard, according to Bloomberg.