Official FAQ For The Microsoft x Activision Blizzard Deal Tries And Fails To Answer Some Questions

Official FAQ For The Microsoft x Activision Blizzard Deal Tries And Fails To Answer Some Questions
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As part of Microsoft’s proposed $US70 ($97) billion purchase, an official FAQ of sorts has been sent to all Activision Blizzard employees. Sadly not many questions are actually answered, with responses looking more like huge black holes in the shape of things that could be answers. One day. Maybe.

The FAQ — sent by Activision Blizzard to its own employees — had to be shared with the SEC as part of the whole legal process, so you can read the whole thing here if you feel like it. Below, though, I’ll just be touching on some of the more noteworthy topics. As you’ll quickly see, the whole point of the document is to address Activision Blizzard employees who will have serious concerns they might be laid off or relocated, or what happens to their stocks, or anyone wondering what the culture is like at Microsoft.

A common theme throughout are serious questions like “will I have to move” or “will I be deported because I’m on a work visa” being answered with essentially “nothing is changing until the deal is done, and then who knows, we’ll look at it then”, leaving folks to keep on worrying right through to the deal being signed off — which might not be for months — when they’ll get to ask the questions all over again. I’m not saying Microsoft or Activision Blizzard should or even could have answers to those questions ready at this time, but it feels like raising them then failing to answer them causes more stress than just leaving them alone. To everyone affected by this, I’m sorry, I’m sure this sucks! As someone who has gone through two recent changes of ownership at my own place of work, I feel for you.

Moving onto other questions though, here’s one that continues to suggest Bobby Kotick will no longer be leading Activision once the deal is finalised:

Will Bobby remain CEO of Activision Blizzard under Microsoft?

Bobby will continue to serve as CEO of Activision Blizzard, and he and his team will maintain their focus on driving the company’s culture change and accelerating business growth until closing. Once the deal closes, the Activision Blizzard business will report to Phil Spencer, CEO, Microsoft Gaming.

Here’s Activision Blizzard talking about making games for non-Xbox platforms, and failing to confirm that future games — those not currently in development — won’t be Xbox-exclusive:

How does this transaction impact existing partner agreements (i.e., Sony, Google, Apple)? Will this change what we’re able to offer our partners or how we structure our agreements?

We will honour all existing commitments post close. As with Microsoft’s acquisition of Minecraft, we have no intent to remove any content from platforms where it exists today.

We would be open to discussions to enter into an agreement to confirm our intent when it is appropriate to do so.

How will this transaction affect our pipeline and existing games? How will current projects be affected by the transaction? After the deal closes, will we work on non-Activision Blizzard titles/products within Microsoft/Xbox/Bethesda?

We do not anticipate that this news will affect the rollout of Activision Blizzard’s current pipeline or existing games.

Until close it remains business as usual and both companies will continue to operate independently. We are still working to finalise the specifics of the future organisation. For now, we ask that you stay focused on your current responsibilities.

There’s a section where the company’s sexual harassment firestorm is addressed:

What is Microsoft’s position on what has transpired at Activision Blizzard to-date?

We are unable to speak on behalf of Microsoft. However, Activision Blizzard’s leadership team has discussed the company’s goals at length with Microsoft, and Microsoft has reviewed the renewed culture commitment and actions we have done so far, and the efforts they’ve undertaken. Microsoft is supportive of the goals and the work being done.

Here’s a very funny part where “creative” employees (artists, writers, etc) are singled out as though they’re not key and existing parts of a development team, and the question “Is creativity valued at Microsoft?” is asked with the straightest of faces:

Will Creative employees be given the same consideration, opportunities, and resources as they’ve had at Activision Blizzard? Is creativity valued at Microsoft?

Microsoft recognises and values the depth of talent and creative expertise at Activision Blizzard. In fact, Activision Blizzard’s employees are a driving force behind the combination for Microsoft.

And finally:

If a reporter asks me about this transaction, how should I respond?

Do not provide any response and direct them to Helaine Klasky ([email alias]) immediately.

Aside from us asking, if any Activision Blizzard employees would like to talk about this transaction (or anything else!), here are the best ways to contact us.

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