Following Bobby Kotick’s exit, former ABK devs call out his toxic management and Overwatch 2 sabotage


Now that Bobby Kotick has floated away from Activision-Blizzard on a doubtlessly diamond-encrusted platinum parachute, some former developers at Blizzard are feeling confident enough to speak up about his management “style” – a style that we’ve repeatedly reported as full of gaslighting, union-busting, denial, blame-shifting, and literal murder threats – just in case anyone still believed he wasn’t helping make life at the studio actively awful.

One of the first accounts comes from Greg Street, where he tells a tale shared to him by a former colleague about how Kotick bought an industrial-sized donut fryer for the Blizzard campus (this thing required a semi truck to move, just to grant a sense of scale) without considering the logistical issues like power draw and immense extension cords causing people to trip. Ultimately the donuts never happened, possibly because someone stopped him from going through with the plan, and Street does open by stating that he isn’t able to confirm its veracity, but he also has no reason to not believe the unnamed colleague.

The other accounts are less about flagrant waste of money, time, and resources and more about active malfeasance for developers: Former Overwatch 2 senior community manager Andy Belford talked about the sequel’s launch on Steam and how Kotick “flatly denied” requests put in months ahead of time for more information, details, and resources to handle the flood of aggression that occurred. “Moderation of steam was put on the community team (not a function of community at Blizz), despite my refusal to want to expose members of my team to that level of toxic content/posts,” Belford wrote. “When asked whose decision it was to launch on Steam with no additional help: Bobby.”

“This is only one example of the culture Kotick bred at AB: shit flowed downstream, usually landing on the lowest paid and most overworked individuals,” he closes. “At the end of everything, player experience/worker meant nothing to CSuite and exec leadership. It was all about that quarters earnings call.”

Finally we have a story from former Call of Duty programmer Christina Pollock, who claims that “Bobby’s decisions made [the company’s] games worse” and recalled how she was the first among her staff to call for Kotick’s firing after she learned about the murder threat. “I get that I am very loud and very annoying and that with my seniority and ease of other opportunities, that affords me certain protections and safety to do such things,” she wrote. “But you all need to get on board this train. We all need to revolt against people like this, every time.”

source: Twitter (1, 2, 3) via PCGamesN
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