Xbox head Phil Spencer reportedly reevaluating relationship with Activision Blizzard

Phil Spencer Home Office
Phil Spencer Home Office (Image credit: Microsoft)

What you need to know

  • Phil Spencer, head of Xbox, sent an email to staff stating that the relationship with Activision Blizzard was being reevaluated, per Bloomberg.
  • This comes after Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Jim Ryan stated he was "disheartened and frankly stunned" by the recent reports on Activision Blizzard.
  • Hundreds of Activision Blizzard employees and contracters have signed a petition asking CEO Bobby Kotick to step down.

Head of Xbox Phil Spencer sent an email to employees, in which he stated that he and the rest of Xbox leadership are "disturbed and deeply troubled by the horrific events and action," as reported by Bloomberg. Spencer reportedly goes on to note that Xbox is "evaluating all aspects of our relationship with Activision Blizzard and making ongoing proactive adjustments."

Activision Blizzard is currently facing a lawsuit, alleging the company fostered sexist workplace practices and allowed abusive behaviors to go unpunished. Hundreds of Activision Blizzard employees have signed a petition calling for the removal of CEO Bobby Kotick, as well as for the remaining shareholders to vote in a new CEO. The board of directors is currently standing with Kotick, saying in a press release that the board " remains confident" Kotick has handled past situations appropriately.

A recent report from the Wall Street Journal indicates that Kotick knew of and assisted in covering up multiple instances of sexual harassment at Activision Blizzard. Sony Interactive Entertainment CEO Jim Ryan also recently spoke on the situation, noting that he was "disheartened and frankly stunned" by the recent reports on Activision Blizzard.

The report also indicated that former Blizzard co-lead Jen Oneal was not paid as much as fellow co-lead Mike Ybarra, with Oneal claiming she had also faced sexual harassment during her time at Activision Blizzard.

Samuel Tolbert
Freelance Writer

Samuel Tolbert is a freelance writer covering gaming news, previews, reviews, interviews and different aspects of the gaming industry, specifically focusing on Xbox and PC gaming on Windows Central. You can find him on Twitter @SamuelTolbert.