Frequently asked questions about Microsoft x Activision Blizzard do not answer questions

Microsoft and Activision Blizzard logos

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As part of Microsoft’s proposed $ 70 billion acquisition, a kind of official FAQ has been sent to all Activision Blizzard employees. Unfortunately, not many questions are actually answered, and the answers look like bigger black holes in the form of things that could be the answer. One day. Maybe.

Frequently asked questions – sent by Activision Blizzard to its own staff – had to be shared with the SEC as part of the entire legal process, so you can read it all here if you like. Below, however, I will just touch on some of the more notable topics. As you will soon see, the whole point of the document is to turn to Activision Blizzard employees who will have serious concerns that they may be fired or relocated, or what happens to their shares, or anyone wondering, how culture is at Microsoft.

A common theme throughout is serious questions like “should I move” or “will I be deported because I am on a work visa”, which is essentially answered with “nothing changes before the deal is completed and who knows, we will look at it then “, which leaves people worrying right up until the agreement is signed – which may not be for months– when they are asked the questions again. I’m not saying that Microsoft or Activision Blizzard should or could have answers to these questions ready at this point, but it feels like raising them and then failing to answer them is causing more stress than just leaving them alone. To all who are affected by this, I’m sorry, I’m sure it’s a shame! As someone who has undergone two recent changes of ownership in my own workplace, I feel with you.

But to move on to other issues, here’s one that still suggests that Bobby Kotick will no longer lead Activision once the deal is finalized:

Will Bobby remain CEO of Activision Blizzard under Microsoft?

Bobby will continue to serve as CEO of Activision Blizzard, and he and his team will maintain their focus on driving the company’s culture change and accelerating business growth until the closure. Once the agreement is completed, the Activision Blizzard company will report to Phil Spencer, CEO, Microsoft Gaming.

Here’s Activision Blizzard talking about making games for non-Xbox platforms and failing to confirm that future games – those that are not under development – will not be Xbox exclusive:

How does this transaction affect existing partner agreements (ie Sony, Google, Apple)? Will this change what we can offer our partners or how we structure our agreements?

We will comply with all existing obligations upon completion. As with Microsoft’s acquisition of Minecraft, we have no intention of removing any content from platforms where it exists today.

We will be open to discussions about concluding an agreement to confirm our intention when appropriate.

How will this transaction affect our pipeline and existing games? How will current projects be affected by the transaction? Once the deal is closed, will we be working on non-Activision Blizzard titles / products within Microsoft / Xbox / Bethesda?

We do not expect this news to affect the rollout of Activision Blizzard’s current pipeline or existing games.

Until closure, it will remain business as usual and both companies will continue to operate independently. We are still working on finalizing the details for the future organization. For now, we ask you to stay focused on your current responsibilities.

There is a section where the company’s firestorm regarding sexual harassment is addressed:

What’s Microsoft’s position on what’s happened to Activision Blizzard to date?

We can not comment on behalf of Microsoft. However, Activision Blizzard’s management team has discussed the company’s goals in detail with Microsoft, and Microsoft has reviewed the renewed cultural commitment and the actions we have taken so far and the efforts they have made. Microsoft supports the goals and the work that is being done.

Here is a very funny part where “creative” employees (artists, writers, etc.) are highlighted as if they are not central and existing parts of a development team, and the question “Is creativity valued at Microsoft?” are asked with the most straight faces:

Will Creative employees get the same consideration, opportunities and resources that they have had with Activision Blizzard? Is creativity valued at Microsoft?

Microsoft recognizes and appreciates the depth of talent and creative expertise at Activision Blizzard. In fact, Activision Blizzard’s employees are a driving force behind the combination for Microsoft.

And finally:

If a journalist asks me about this transaction, how should I respond?

Do not reply and send them to Helaine Klasky ([email alias]) soon.

Besides that we ask, ieif any Activision Blizzard employees would like to talk about this transaction (or anything else!), here are the best ways to contact us.

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