Xbox Creator "Sickened" By The Activision Buyout News, But Hopeful For Positive Change

The very people who perpetrated the "despicable practices" at the company are now primed for a huge payday, Seamus Blackley says.


Microsoft is proposing to buy Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion in the largest gaming acquisition in history, and the news is sending shockwaves across the industry. One person who has weighed in is Seamus Blackley, the designer of the original Xbox who has since left the company.

He said on Twitter that he is "sickened" by the news because of how it connects to the ongoing issues at Activision Blizzard regarding its company culture. The very people who perpetrated the "despicable practices" at the company are now primed for a huge payday, Blackley said.

That is why Blackley said he feels sickened by the news, but he also remarked that the buyout could lead to positive change down the road. "My hope is that the acquisition will cause the Activision culture to change, and may catalyze some accountability for those who have so far avoided it," Blackley said. He added that he is a big believer in Xbox boss Phil Spencer, and overall contends that Microsoft buying Activision Blizzard is a "very insightful move."

"There are daunting challenges in all large acquisitions I just see the issues of developer culture as being paramount here, before all else," he said.

Blackley also shared a story of when he went to Activision to pitch the original Xbox only to be "essentially mocked" for what he had to say. Blackley previously talked about "battling" with Activision Blizzard CEO Kotick over rights issues related to games in the past. Kotick is staying on with Activision Blizzard and will remain its CEO for the time being, but it remains to be seen what might happen if and when Microsoft's deal to buy Activision Blizzard goes through.

If Microsoft's bid for Activision Blizzard is approved, it would become far and away Microsoft's biggest-ever acquisition, the next closest being LinkedIn ($26.2 billion). The news comes amid a busy time for big deals, as Take-Two just recently announced plans to buy Zynga for $12.7 billion.

Should the deal go through, Microsoft will take ownership of several massive franchises from Activision Blizzard, including Call of Duty, Warcraft, and Candy Crush, just to name a few.

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