Activision Blizzard had already been at the center of a furious controversy over the last few months due to revelations about the company’s long-standing culture of abuse and harassment against its employees, particularly women, but with recent reports having brought to light even more troubling details, many of which pertain directly to CEO Bobby Kotick, things have only gotten worse.
Not long after said reports emerged, PlayStation CEO Jim Ryan criticized Activision Blizzard’s “deep-seated culture of discrimination and harassment” in an email sent out to PlayStation employees, and it seems that the company has taken at least some steps to distance itself from the problematic company. As pointed out by Charlie INTEL on Twitter, while Call of Duty: Vanguard had previously been featured front and center as one of the games on the “featured” section on the front page of the PlayStation website, the game now seems to have been removed from that spot.
It’s a small step, of course, and unlikely to affect the game’s bottom line in any significant way, but the action itself, if it is indeed in response to the recent reports, is not wholly insignificant. PlayStation has had an exclusive marketing deal with Activision for Call of Duty for several years running at this point, so this is a bit of an unprecedented move.
Recently, Xbox boss Phil Spencer also said that he was “evaluating all aspects” of Microsoft’s relationship with Activision. Read more on that through here.
Pressure has been mounting on Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick, as employees and shareholders continue to speak out loudly against him, even demanding his resignation. Thousands of company employees have been signing a petition for the same– though it doesn’t seem like Activision leadership is willing to remove Kotick from his position as things stand right now.
Bloomberg reported yesterday that PlayStation’s CEO sent a note to Activision Blizzard about how they plan to address their internal situation.
PlayStation appears to have removed Vanguard from the featured section on their site.
Today vs. yesterday: pic.twitter.com/vWYyHGDY2S
— CharlieIntel (@charlieINTEL) November 18, 2021