The usually tight-knit gaming industry now has the triple-A cream of the crop companies at each other’s throats. This as entertainment giant Sony takes a swipe at Activision for mishandling complaints about employee’s bad behavior.
According to Jason Schreier at Bloomberg, this is what PlayStation Boss Jim Ryan had to say to staff in a company email:
"We outreached to Activision immediately after the article was published to express our deep concern and to ask how they plan to address the claims made in the [Wall Street Journal] article. We do not believe their statements of response properly address the situation."
Schreier’s piece sums up the professional landscape that Sony and Activision are in, in terms of their business practices. Sony has a working relationship in terms of exclusivity rights for Activision titles but they are also not afraid to put down the hammer on occasions of controversy.
The reasoning for Ryan’s message stems from Tuesday’s piece about Activision’s Bobby Kotick in the Wall Street Journal. The main theme of the piece was linking the CEO to recent legal battles playing out involving sexual harassment and abuse within their workplace culture.
The parts pertaining to Kotick involve concerns that he didn’t tell the Board of Directors the breadth of what he knew when it came to allegations of employee misconduct. In response to the Wall Street Journal piece a spokeswoman argued that it’d be impossible for Kotick to keep tabs on everything at all times.
But in light of the situation that includes claims that a male supervisor at Sledgehammer Games repeatedly raped a female employee in 2016 and 2017, under the influence of alcohol, the most severe of these circumstances is what’s intensifying the scrutiny.
Adding fuel to the fire is a claim that Bobby Kotick ghost wrote a response to the lawsuit brought forward by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing. The Activision CEO purportedly hid behind the name of a female executive to fire back about how painted a "distorted and untrue picture" of the company.
The departure of co-CEO Jennifer O’Neill accented the fracas.
The employee fallout was summarized by Kotaku who depict a standoff by employees and shareholders. They demand the resignation of Bobby Kotick and early retirement for board members Brian Kelly and Robert Morgado. It’s said that over one-hundred staffers at Blizzard walked out of Blizzard’s headquarters yesterday in California to make their demands known.
Polygon had it in the ballpark of 150.