Phil Spencer Discusses Xbox's Relationship With Activision Blizzard And Dealing With Problematic Business Partners

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In an audio interrogation with Kara Swisher of The New York Times, caput of Xbox Phil Spencer spoke connected a assortment of topics surrounding the Xbox brand, including his company’s effect to the myriad of ongoing intersexual harassment, assault, and sex discrimination lawsuits astatine Activision Blizzard. Spencer had antecedently told his unit successful an unfastened missive that enactment was “evaluating each aspects of our narration with Activision Blizzard and making ongoing proactive adjustments.” He clarified what that means arsenic good arsenic the publisher’s larger doctrine connected maintaining relationships with partners embroiled successful workplace controversy. 

When asked to picture however precisely Xbox has changed its concern practices with Activision, Spencer stated helium couldn’t publically sermon specifics, lone saying, “We person changed however we bash definite things with them, and they’re alert of that.” 

He went connected to accidental that Xbox’s ngo isn’t astir “virtue-shaming” different studios, admitting that its ain grounds connected specified matters “is not spotless.” Spencer specifically brings up Xbox’s 2016 Game Developers Conference creation enactment that featured half-naked pistillate performers, an lawsuit he aboriginal apologized for. He states that the concern served arsenic a catalyst for the squad to go better. Because of this, Spencer says helium wants to usage those lessons to absorption connected helping companies amended their civilization alternatively than to strictly punish them. 

“And I really, honestly, I use astir of my vigor successful that space. And immoderate of the partners that are retired there, if I tin larn from them oregon I tin assistance with the travel that we’ve been connected [at] Xbox by sharing what we’ve done and what we’ve built, I’d overmuch alternatively bash that than get into immoderate benignant of finger-wagging astatine different companies that are retired there.” 

“I don’t deliberation my occupation is retired determination to punish different companies,” says Spencer. 

Activision Blizzard Strike 2021

Swisher past pressed Spencer connected however Xbox can reconcile doing concern with a company whose allegations see aggregate counts of intersexual battle against pistillate employees, including rape, arsenic good arsenic 1 reported lawsuit of termination owed to intersexual harassment. Especially erstwhile CEO Bobby Kotick evidently knew of these issues for years and did small to code them portion obscuring the details from shareholders. 

In presumption of responding to these issues successful a broader sense, Spencer believes that alteration requires making workers consciousness harmless astir reporting toxic practices by maintaining unfastened lines of communication. “And to get there, it’s a taste effort of however bash you physique that spot truthful radical consciousness similar erstwhile they whistle blow, erstwhile they rise their manus astir topics that are going on, that they won’t look repercussions,” says Spencer. "Rather, they’ll spot action.”

Addressing Bobby Kotick’s allegations, Spencer explains, “I would accidental successful presumption of individuals that are successful enactment positions astatine different companies, it’s not evidently our presumption to justice who the CEOs are. Like, CEOs are chosen by shareholders and boards. At Xbox, I cognize who I’m accountable for present successful presumption of the concern and the operations. It’s my teams here, my absorption chain. And that’s the happening that we proceed to absorption on, is to effort to grow. And whether that’s america sharing, again, the experiences that we person with different partners, if we tin assistance them connected their ain travel oregon connected the things that hap successful our ain teams.”

The afloat interview is worthy a read/listen arsenic Spencer besides discusses Xbox's attack to battling online subordinate toxicity, utilizing Xbox Live arsenic a platform for escaped speech, his sentiment connected the metaverse, the pandemic's effect connected Xbox income (spoiler: it's been precise good), and gaming arsenic an addiction. 

As antecedently mentioned, 2021 had not been benignant to Activision Blizzard. It has spent the past respective months battling large lawsuits from the State of California and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (the second of which it precocious settled with), arsenic good arsenic an exodus of employees, either owed to being perpetrators of maltreatment oregon as victims of it. The steadfast is besides dealing with a weeks-long strike astatine Call of Duty enactment workplace Raven Software owed to QA squad lay-offs.

[Source: The New York Times]

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