Probably the last thing you want to see on a Wednesday or any other day that ends in -day is Activision-Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick on TV. After all, one of the best things about the Microsoft buyout of Activision-Blizzard is that the whole world presumes Microsoft will finally eject him with his golden parachute, which is what the board should’ve done in 2021 when the Wall Street Journal made public the revelation that he once threatened to have his assistant murdered.
But it’s now 2023, and the acquisition of ABK looks shakier than ever, and that means Bobby K. has roused himself for a rare live interview on CNBC, where in the face of a possible rejection of the merger by the UK he… basically negs the whole country?
“Well, you look at the UK and you think about the post-Brexit UK, it’s probably the first country where you’re seeing a recession – […] the real severe consequences of a recession. If you’re in the UK, and you have an incredibly educated workforce, you have a lot of technical talent, [and you have] places like Cambridge where the best AI and machine learning is, I would think you would want to embrace a transaction like this, where you’re gonna see job creation and opportunity. And it isn’t really at all about whether it’s Sony’s or Microsoft’s platform; it’s really about the future of technology. And you know they’ve said now for the last year, I think Rishi Sunak has said they’d like to be the Silicon Valley of Europe (or of the continent), and if deals like this can’t get through, they’re not going to be Silicon Valley – they’ll be Death Valley.”
Here I perked up as Death Valley is one of the most amazing places on the planet; the heat and the silence are awe-inspiring, as anyone who’s visited knows. But yeah, that’s not what he meant.
Kotick does acknowledge the company’s unusually good financial quarter (the results from which we covered Monday), but he urges caution about the industry’s future, discusses the platform and monetization shifts of the last decade, suggests that regulators do not understand the video game industry, and argues that Chinese and Japanese markets offer significantly more competition in the games industry than companies like his.