🏁 Microsoft Deal Hasn’t Crossed The Finish Line Yet
Microsoft's $68.7 billion acquisition of video-game giant Activision Blizzard is hitting a roadblock. Activision Blizzard, the company behind Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, and CandyCrush Saga is embroiled in a series of lawsuits painting an overall portrait of a toxic workplace rife with harassment. Should the sale of the firm to Microsoft close, multiple US Senators now claim in a letter to the FTC, that it could potentially scuttle accountability for abusers.
“The proposed acquisition appears to be a cynical and 'opportunistic' attempt to capitalize off the systemic issues coming to light at Activision Blizzard,” the Senators' letter says, reports CNET. “While Microsoft capitalized on lower stock prices from the sexual misconduct disclosures, they also signaled that they were willing to prioritize profits over entrenched issues of gender-based discrimination in the organization.”
The letter to FTC Chairwoman Lina Khan was signed by Senators Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Cory Booker, and Sheldon Whitehouse—each known for their progressive policies and support of the labor movement.
The Industry's Dark Underbelly
In the years since Gamergate, a notorious 2014 event in which several high-profile women in video gaming were the targets of death threats, doxing, and more, the industry has been grappling with a widespread culture of toxicity. Beyond Activision Blizzard's many lawsuits, Riot Games recently settled sexual harassment and discrimination claims for $100 million. Meanwhile, at the Roblox developers conference in October, popular video game influencer Ruben Sims managed to shut down the event with a "cybermob" threatening violence and bullying gamers on the platform, says Polygon.
Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard certainly doesn’t make the video game-maker’s legal troubles disappear, however, it could add fuel to anti-trust advocates who see the tech giant’s power growing far too big.