Microsoft Gaming Announces Leadership Changes as Activision Blizzard CEO Steps Down

Microsoft Gaming Announces Leadership Changes as Activision Blizzard CEO Steps Down

Following Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard, many are wondering how the leadership structure within the company will change post-merge. Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard, has announced he will be stepping down from his position on December 29, 2023. This departure marks a significant transition for Microsoft Gaming, which is still in the process of integrating Activision Blizzard into its operations.

Phil Spencer, the head of Xbox, released an internal memo highlighting Kotick’s contributions in a memo obtained by The Verge: “Under Bobby’s watch, Activision Blizzard in its many incarnations has been an enduring pillar of video games… I’d like to thank Bobby—for his invaluable contributions to this industry.” Spencer also outlined the next steps for aligning Activision Blizzard with Microsoft Gaming, noting that key executives from Activision Blizzard, including Thomas Tippl, Rob Kostich, Mike Ybarra, and Tjodolf Sommestad, will now report to Matt Booty, President of Game Content and Studios at Microsoft.

This transition comes after recent leadership changes at Xbox, which saw Sarah Bond promoted to Xbox president, overseeing all Xbox platform and hardware work. Booty, already in a significant role, will now have even more responsibilities, overseeing Bethesda, Activision Blizzard, and Xbox Game Studios.

Despite these changes, the leadership team of Activision Blizzard largely remains in place, although certain executive-level changes are occurring. Notably, Lulu Meservey, chief communications officer, and Humam Sakhnini, vice chairman of Blizzard and King, will be leaving their positions in January and December, respectively.

Furthermore, Matt Booty announced in a memo the appointment of Jill Braff as the new head of ZeniMax and Bethesda studios. “Jill has a wealth of experience in games and entertainment… She was our leader for the integration work when ZeniMax/Bethesda joined Xbox,” Booty stated. He expressed confidence in Braff’s ability to lead the ZeniMax/Bethesda game development teams and oversee the Microsoft Casual Games team.

These changes signal Microsoft’s continued commitment to integrate Activision Blizzard into its expanded Microsoft Gaming business. The gaming community is eagerly awaiting updates on the potential addition of Activision Blizzard games to Xbox Game Pass, although Spencer previously indicated that regulatory processes might delay such additions until 2024.

The departure of Kotick and the restructuring within Microsoft Gaming indicate a new chapter in the company’s strategy, potentially bringing fresh innovations and experiences to the gaming world. With a lineup of games set for release in 2024, the industry and gamers alike are keen to see what these organizational changes will bring.

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