“The Bloomberg report is accurate,” a Microsoft spokesperson tells The Verge. Microsoft also shared a generic, completely unrelated statement about how Microsoft wants a “welcoming and inclusive environment for all of our employees at Xbox.” Yesterday, Sony PlayStation boss Jim Ryan similarly told employees that the company had expressed “deep concern” with Activision Blizzard, according to Bloomberg, adding that “[we] do not believe their statements of response properly address the situation.”
Following a bombshell Wall Street Journal report that Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick allegedly knew, withheld, and even participated in harassment and abusive behavior, the company`s big console partners Sony and Microsoft are semi-privately expressing their distress. Bloomberg is now reporting that Microsoft boss Phil Spencer has now told staff he was “disturbed and deeply troubled by the horrific events and actions” at Activision Blizzard and that Microsoft is “evaluating all aspects of our relationship with Activision Blizzard and making ongoing proactive adjustments” as a result.
But Microsoft and Sony also want to be seen as committed to reducing toxicity in the video game industry, and Phil Spencer in particular has made the fight against toxicity part of his public brand. to According to Bloomberg, Spencer’s new memo on Activision Blizzard says, “This kind of behavior doesn’t work in this industry.”
These private statements from Sony and Microsoft obviously don`t carry anywhere near the same weight as if these companies publicly called out the situation at Activision Blizzard, and it`s not clear if either company is interested in taking any concrete actions yet. Activision Blizzard is one of the most powerful publishers in the video game industry, and both console makers rely on them to provide new big-budget games for their consoles.