Anybody else disappointed in Microsoft? Considering cancelling my gamepass sub now

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anywhereilay

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I suppose it was easy to take the moral high ground when Activision haven't released anything I've had even a passing fancy for in years.

Microsoft on the other hand, have really seemed to be doing solid, buying companies and giving them space and time to complete their games such as Psychonauts 2 and Halo. This news has really taken the wind out of the company for me.

I am conflicted of course. Gamepass represents such a good money proposition, but with all the horrible stuff coming out about Activision and the supposed intention of retaining Bobby Kotik, I wonder if gamepass will be something I stick with for much longer.

Anybody else feeling the drive to cancel their sub?

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Newtstradamus

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Lol what? They purchased them because all the bad shit that was happening at ActiBlizz drove the price down and when the transaction is complete the ActiBlizz leadership will be shown the door. This is an opportunity for cooler heads to come in an clean house. There is likely a transition period where Kotick is required to stick around and bring new leadership up to speed before he exits, that’s how most purchases of large companies go. The small private company I worked for was purchased by a much larger public company, a contractual part of the purchase was that our original private owners needed to stay on the payroll for two years to transition leadership to the new owners. They were let go 2 years and 1 day after the purchase. It’s completely normal.

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bigsocrates

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Need more time to evaluate.

If Microsoft closes the deal and a year later Kotick is still there and reports are that nothing has changed then yes, I will be angry. But Microsoft also has the opportunity to fix things. So far Spencer has a good reputation. This will be make or break for him and he knows it. Yes they've said Kotick is staying on and that is bad, but it's also standard for a big purchase and we don't know for how long. It might just be something transitional and a statement to steady the markets.

So far my grade for this is: Incomplete.

Not happy about the consolidation factor but that's just how business works now.

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ALLTheDinos

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I’m a wait-and-see person for once the deal closes. If the deal goes through (and it took almost a year for the Bethesda one to become final, iirc) and Kotick and the Torture Defense Brigade stick around past the short term, it’ll strongly negatively impact my feelings about Microsoft. I have my issues already with MS (including their abuse of the 18 month contractor term for 343 and reports that women have been harassed and abused at the company), as well as being against this mega-consolidation trend overall. We’ll see if my stomach churns just thinking about sending them money after a while, as it did with ABK late last year.

For cancellation, I’m going to echo a semi-contentious sentiment that’s been thrown around previously on this site. There’s no “vote with your wallet” on this scale; even if there was, MS made a conscious decision to chase COD people at the expense of people like us, and any decision they make is financially motivated. If the idea of sending MS any money after this acquisition sickens you, I totally understand (and will possibly join you later on, as noted in my first paragraph). Do what you feel is right for yourself and what gives you best peace of mind.

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brian_

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Whether they fire him or not is irrelevant. They've bought his ass out of trouble. He and his goons will make whatever they get out of the sale and disappear into the night, public discourse goes away, unionization is no longer seen as necessary, and no one is held accountable.

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permanentsigh

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#6  Edited By permanentsigh

Yeah, because Microsoft has such a moral high ground and has never had sexual harassment policies or gender discrimination, right?

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OurSin_360

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It's typical for companies to keep the leadership on for at least a year after acquiring them because it gives them stability during the transition. Also tt's not easy to replace someone that grew one of the largest gaming companies of all time so quickly, especially during a major transition. He will probably stay on at least a year if not 2(which is more typical I think)

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bigsocrates

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@brian_: What matters is that conditions improve. Accountability is for the courts, not the market. As for unionization being unnecessary...obviously they should still unionize but if they don't because conditions have improved that's not necessarily Microsoft's "fault." "You started treating people better so they didn't unionize" is a weak accusation.

In some ways this gives a better chance of improving conditions than any other outcome. It's not like Activision Blizzard as a stand alone company held anyone accountable!

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apewins

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Having just bought a Series S and paid for my Game Pass in advance, I'm not about to boycott Microsoft over this, but the optics of this thing seem horrible and I am just shocked that they went anywhere near this dumpster fire. Bobby Kotick and his buddies just made a hell of a lot of money and it just sickens me that terrible people keep getting rewarded, and that stink is now going to stick to Microsoft for a long time after they're gone. And I'm just a customer, I can't imagine what Microsoft employees are feeling right now.

Call of Duty is obviously the biggest attraction in this purchase, and I just can't imagine that later this year Microsoft is going to be releasing a game that very likely grossly glorifies actual war and war crimes.

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belgo

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lol k

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InsaneLuchadoor

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Bobby isn’t long for this company. NY Times updated its story.

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brian_

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#12  Edited By brian_

@bigsocrates: Courts don't hold these people accountable any more than the market does. The only thing that holds these people accountable is money and stock prices. Speaking out against these scumbags until it hurts their bottom-line and are forced out. Set an example to the rest of these companies. Is Microsoft going to buy every other company out there that treats employees like crap? Don't give these douches an out.

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UltimAXE

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There's no way that you buy Activision Blizzard and all of the current bad press that goes with it if you don't plan to get rid of all of the troublemakers eventually. And then you come out looking like the hero for showing all of the shit-bags the door.

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AndersWarming

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#14  Edited By AndersWarming
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constantk

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#15  Edited By constantk

@ultimaxe: I'm with you. They know what they're getting, and they've made some pretty forward-thinking moves recently. I'm willing to give them some time to figure this situation out.

Ultimately, unionization is a good answer for the issues Activision is experiencing, but not necessarily the only answer. I'm reserving judgment until more information comes out about MS response to continued unionization (if that happens) or their plans for long-term restructuring. Honestly, after this deal goes through, I don't see MS having any obligations to stockholders or boards that existed when Activision was an independent entity. They will get paid, their influence will be moot after that. What happens when their protection of Kotick and the like is gone is the big question.

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bigsocrates

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@brian_: Relying on "speaking out" to drive down the stock price and drive out the villains IS relying on the market and it doesn't work. Bobby Kotick was still there before Microsoft bought AB and there are literally dozens of other examples of villains who remained at their companies despite exposure and whistleblowers and even congressional hearings.

Boards and the market don't really care about this stuff.

Meanwhile Riot Games just paid out $100,000,000 in a class action settlement and is trying to push out its bad apples because of the legal exposure.

Are courts perfect at this? Far from it. There are a ton of problems with them. But remember that this whole Activision Blizzard thing came out because of court filings. They are where accountability is supposed to be found and where it sometimes is, though generally there's no accountability anywhere.

But the market sure as heck isn't going to provide it.

And not buying a company because its leadership is evil just entrenches that leadership.

Blame Microsoft if they fail to clean up the toxic mess, but don't blame them for the pre-existing mess in the land they bought. If they hadn't bought it that wouldn't have made it any cleaner.

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thizzle7xu

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A different perspective to have is to remember that Mike Ybarra came from MS/Xbox to eventually head up Blizzard. He totally could have been talking to his friends back at Xbox informing them of the mess and the opportunity to come in and clean house. He also just tweeted a smiley face when it was announced. He's probably happy to be back at MS.

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brian_

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@bigsocrates: Speaking out doesn't work because the people with the power to effect change never speak out about it. The major players in the industry. They all make vague illusions to "industry wide abuse" or how they're "re-evaluating partnerships", but never make good on it. If people at these companies actually cared about any of it, put your money where your mouth is. Go after abuse publicly in a way that matters, drag their name through the mud every chance you get, actually stop working with them. No one wanting to work with you anymore is definitely going to affect your stock.

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apewins

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Activision-Blizzard had an opportunity to clean up their own mess, and if they couldn't do it then they could burn to the ground for all I care. None of that was Microsoft's problem up until today, there was no need for them to get involved. Bobby Kotick had been abusing his employees for decades and just as he was facing something mildly looking like a consequence Microsoft comes in and bails him out. And some of you are trying to spin this like Microsoft are the good guys riding in like knights in shining armor?

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bigsocrates

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@brian_: You're preaching to the choir here, buddy. Abuse needs to be taken more seriously at every level. But it's a collective action problem as well. Microsoft alone cannot boycott Activision because that gives a competitive advantage to Sony and Nintendo, and it's not clear who would suffer more there, Kotick or the rank and file employees who might lose jobs or not hit performance metrics.

It's a complicated situation and it needs broad societal change to address.

But I'm not sure that Microsoft buying Activision Blizzard makes them complicit in abuse unless they don't do anything about the abuse. Yes it benefits Kotick et al but it's less about whether they benefit than what happens to the employees going forward. If they buy the company and clean it up have they really done anything wrong?

That's why I'm grading this incomplete. We need to see what they actually do and then judge them for it.

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MindBullet

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@justin258: This is pretty much where I'm at. Kotick and the current allegations aside, this is just another in a string of Microsoft gobbling up everyone else in the room. I know we generally like Gamepass and Phil Spencer and all, but the idea of Microsoft taking up increasingly more and more space in the games industry kind of unsettles me.

I guess it's still too early to say exactly how this will pan out, but I don't really see them slowing down any time soon...

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Justin258

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@mindbullet: People might be a little confused so, to clarfiy, I meant to post that comment in the other, more general thread about this topic. Ooops. I should have paid closer attention

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BaneFireLord

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#24  Edited By BaneFireLord

Eh, not really. You can rightly call me a cynical bastard, but I'm so far through the "there's no ethical consumption under capitalism" looking glass that this doesn't really make me feel any particular way and has zero effect on my continued engagement with Microsoft and Game Pass. Companies aren't our friends, Phil Spencer's not our friend, money overrules all morality in corpo reality, etc. etc. etc. Honestly, this seems like one of the less terrible outcomes in the range of overwhelmingly bad ways the Activision situation could have evolved. No matter how this shook out Kotick was almost certainly going to happily glide off with a golden parachute. Having it end up in such a way that the entire Activision leadership is likely getting purged while the company is swallowed by a megacorp that, for all its own seedy history, appears to be putting more effort into combating toxic culture than most of the other big tech/gaming companies seems to me like one of the better scenarios for Activison's rank and file.

@apewins said:

Call of Duty is obviously the biggest attraction in this purchase, and I just can't imagine that later this year Microsoft is going to be releasing a game that very likely grossly glorifies actual war and war crimes.

At great risk of coming off like I'm doing some sort of "lol I'm so jaded" shtick, seeing as this is the same Microsoft that actively contributes to and profits from actual war (and the inevitable war crimes that come with it) through its US military contracts, I find it very imaginable that they'll happily do this without a second thought. I recognize that we're specifically talking about the game division here, but it's all the same conglomerate at the end of the day.

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brian_

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#25  Edited By brian_

@bigsocrates: Yeah, but what if Microsoft cared more about taking a stand against abuse instead of losing a competitive advantage? What if they used some of that $70 billion to open new studios and hired people away from these abusive companies instead of buying out these scumbag execs.?

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bigsocrates

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@brian_: Then their shareholders would get mad. I'm not saying Microsoft is a good guy here, it's a big business and it does big business things, many of which are bad. But saying "Microsoft could do better things with this money" is different from saying "I'm disgusted by the fact that Microsoft is complicit in this abuse" when they really aren't.

I do think we can get mad that Microsoft's CEO is praising Kotick publicly, which just isn't necessary and makes Microsoft look very bad and like it won't fix anything.

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cikame

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Initial thoughts:
This is nuts.
I haven't liked Blizzard games since Diablo 2 so whatever.
I still like Call of Duty for the most part, it would be cool if they started coming out on Steam again, but MS could use its large audience to force people onto the... the Windows Store... please god no. On the console side if COD went Xbox exclusive that would be pretty crazy.
Maybe less people will be treated poorly under Microsoft.
Can we get more Tony Hawk games please.

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BladeOfCreation

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KendallJennerPepsi.mp4

Corporations are never truly progressive or woke. If they were, we would call them something else. Do you know what conservatives and liberals have in common? When it comes down to it, only a tiny percentage of them actually boycott the companies that they vocally dismiss.

I will continue to use Game Pass, like the piece of shit I am. I am a piece of shit who uses Amazon, too. My favorite thing to do is use Audible to listen to books about how fucked up capitalism is (no snark here, there is something profoundly funny about buying something with clearly leftist politics on Amazon).

I'm not here to pass judgment on anyone. If it helps, you could always find some pro-worker cause that you agree with and donate to them the same amount you pay for Game Pass. I guarantee that your $10/month donation to a small charity will help them far more than your $10/month subscription fee will improve the already-great life of a company's CEO.

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Efesell

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Being disappointed would necessitate some sort of trust or belief in this huge corporation.

No thanks.

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bigsocrates

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@bladeofcreation: There's no conflict involved in buying lefty things on Amazon because the way to change things is through political action not through individual consumerist choices.

You cannot participate in society without using services of immoral corporations. What computers will you be able to use? What phones? What cars or busses or trains can you ride in? Are you going to handmake all your own clothes?

Boycotting individual corporations when they do something very bad sends a signal but change is achieved through regulation and enforcement, not refusing to listen to audio books sold by a certain vendor.

We're all on the Giant Bomb web forums and Red Ventures has plenty of issues on its own, as does your ISP and the company that makes your browser. It's just the way life is and while it can change, politics is the best hope we have of making that change.

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BladeOfCreation

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#31  Edited By BladeOfCreation

@bigsocrates: Hey, thanks. I was using artistic license to express how I sometimes feel about this when I really sit down and think about it. Just wanted to express that a lot of people have these thoughts, and yeah, we can't fix it on our own. (The charity thing is a real suggestion; no, individual charity won't save us, but it can help the people we help with it.)

I will say that another aspect of this I struggle with is how it's all art, you know? Like, I want to experience the art these people have made (and pay them for doing so, because making art is labor and should be compensated), but at the same time the art is actually owned by huge, faceless, immoral corporations.

What a world we live in. I believe a better one is possible; that better world will not be achieved by me refusing to play a game.

Edit to add: Of course, we ought to listen to the workers directly involved. Sometimes they will say not to boycott, or that they are not at this time suggesting that consumers boycott, but that always gets drowned out by catchy headlines and self-righteous articles and snappy Twitter threads. As you say, Red Ventures has its issues. To add to that, no one here was suggesting a boycott of Giant Bomb when Les Moonves, then head of CBS (which owned Giant Bomb at the time) was accused of sexual harassment, intimidation, and sexual assault.

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NameRedacted

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#32  Edited By NameRedacted

Wow... no one's worried about Microsoft's aggressive market consolidation policies / monopolism?

I guess it's just me, then.

Do people start get worried / finally take notice when Microsoft buys EA, Take Two, Ubisoft, Annapurna, etc. etc.?

Oh, and fuck Microsoft for giving Bobby Kotick his "Golden Parachute" payout for himself and every other complicit abuser on their Board of Directors and management staff.

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bigsocrates

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@nameredacted: There's a ton of discussion of that in the other thread.

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BaneFireLord

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#34  Edited By BaneFireLord

@bladeofcreation: Yeah, this is basically my stance. You have to consume with some level of disavowal or you'll either go completely crazy and/or become Michael McKean's character in The Good Place, forcing misery on yourself while ultimately accomplishing nothing beyond some sort of masochistic self-aggrandizement that doesn't help anyone. I'd also argue that the focus on individual consumption acts that springs up around these topics more often than not act as smokescreens for the actual bad actors. The floods of "catchy headlines and self-righteous articles and snappy Twitter threads" about individual consumption choices often lead to the mainstream conversation getting stuck there for unhelpful amounts of time, rather than moving on to focusing on what the victims are actually asking for or what useful activist steps can actually be taken. It's like how whenever Ubisoft proclaims their upcoming Far Cry or Tom Clancy game or what have you is "not political," the conversation more often than not first turns to the asked-and-answered question of whether or not the game is "actually political" rather than, y'know, just ignoring the PR trap and delving into what the politics everyone knows are there are actually all about.

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AV_Gamer

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#35  Edited By AV_Gamer

Come on, guys. Be real. Hardly no one is cancelling Game Pass because of this situation, just like deep down no one really cares about the bad stuff Activation Blizzard did. Sure it's cool to say as much and look PC, but at the end of the day, gamers want to play their games and Game Pass is too good a value for most people to give up. It's no different from a famous person everyone likes getting in trouble, and people finding excuses to keep supporting them. So no, there isn't going to be a mass boycott of Microsoft. Some internet vloggers may talk a lot of shit against them for clicks and subs, but they know deep down, nothing is going to happen. Sorry for being a pessimist, but that's reality, because it has happened too many times before.

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FinalDasa

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#36 FinalDasa  Moderator

More than likely Kotick will not stick around. Assuming he does leave I doubt we hear much if anything about some grand restructuring and effort to 'clean' Act/Blizz up. Sure Microsoft will make changes internally to ensure stuff like that doesn't happen as often, but these are still massive companies. Their first priority will always be to make money.

I've really enjoyed the Xbox strategy over the past 5 or so years. I think it's been more consumer-focused and that's a great thing. Don't for a minute think it'll stay like this or Xbox is a good company.

The people are companies can be good, companies aren't people. Don't trust companies. Ever.

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Broshmosh

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@av_gamer said:

just like deep down no one really cares about the bad stuff Activation Blizzard did.

Just in case you actually think this is true, remember that the only reason Microsoft could do this was due to the drop in share prices as a result of these same things you claim nobody cares about.

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clintlandon

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Cancelled my sub yesterday.

Doesn’t feel good to be a part of where this is going. But I suspect most people will justify it or at least do the jelly-spined “let’s see how it plays out” and assume it’ll calm down. It will, just like the Disney/Fox merger.

If anybody needs to see where this is going to, you haven’t paid enough attention over the last five years. This is a downward spiral we’ve been in for a long time, and it’ll only get worse because no one is changing the course.

We’re just “seeing where it goes.”

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clintlandon

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@clintlandon: I feel the need to add, I get why people like this for Game Pass. The service is a good deal and it’s about to be infinitely more so.

But I don’t *need* this service, so I’m willing to prioritize not financially supporting them now. It’s likely that’ll change at some point and I won’t be able to avoid the service. So I’ll abstain while I can.

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monkeyking1969

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Let's be honest nobody will clean up anybody. Bobby goes and someone else just as bad in a different way will take over. The rot at Activision/Blizzard is deep in the trunk. What will clean it, will be take the company and senior staff down to the stump. And NOBODY cuts companies down to stumps better than Microsoft.

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SchrodngrsFalco

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Short-sighted opinions with no time to actually let anything develop into what it actually is or means.

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Undeadpool

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Strange to see unions reduced to a threat that employees can supposedly make for better conditions rather than what they actually are: the ability for workers to come together to demand fairer wages and conditions.

Reagan really did a number on this country and we're STILL suffering for it today.

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Shindig

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As someone who hasn't bought into Game Pass, I just don't know which way this turns. I'd be upset if Kotick continues in his position after the deal is finalised. I'd be upset if nothing changed beyond the CEO's name on the door. Gaming companies, particularly at that level, are absolute nightmares and I don't see anything changing when they're under the Microsoft umbrella.

I don't think Microsoft will tamper too much and it all seems in service of making Gamepass an unbeatable service. Back in July it was reported Game Pass Ultimate was making Microsoft $3bn a year. They've effectively bought a company with $8bn in annual revenue. It should pay itself back eventually but I'm still staggered by the money they've put down.

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Humanity

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Not at all. As a consumer I will continue to benefit from the wildly great deal that is Game Pass - with the added acquisition of Blizzard/Activision games coming to the service day 1 it's even better. I hope they do general house cleaning in a year or so when this deal finally closes, but that is out of my hands.

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yyninja

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#46  Edited By yyninja

Nope, what's the reason to?

Microsoft has nothing to do with the sexual harassment allegations in Activision. They are buying them because their stock price is at discount.

Microsoft can actually fix a lot of the things in Activision. Word on the street is that Kotick will actually step down in 2023 if the Feds approve the buyout. Activision has a boatload of talented studios all working to churn out annual releases of Call of Duty, wouldn't it be great if those studios worked on other games or new IP?

Yes it fucking sucks that Kotick gets a golden parachute and gets to wash his hands clean. Life isn't fair and a lot of corrupt famous rich people get away with doing terrible things. Cancelling a subscription as a form of protest doesn't change anything, it's a poor financial decision unless you can afford buying all the games you want to play w/o the subscription. If you really want to enact change, you'd need to do talk to your local representatives.

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styx971

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no , not yet at least.. i think them buying activison is a bad thing in terms of big companies getting too big and buying things is bad for competitive markets therefore bad for consumers down the line. that said however for activision blizzard and the ppl in there maybe they'll get treated better so maybe it can be a good thing? also Maybe they'll shift the studios that had gotten swallowed up by the COD machine a change to make other games again ? i'm not saying MS hasn't poor good ip out to pasture before in a similar way to activision or anything they have But it seems like they've been trying to be better with that type of thing under phil vs when don was leading things so hopefully this is a good thing. that said as a consumer while i like gamepass and have 2? years pre-paid currently i'm sure it'll end up going up in price down the road....which frankly was why i prepaid anyway a good year or so ago even if i don't always use it ... which is pretty much what they want , like netflix it does keep the money rolling in.

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styx971

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@shindig said:

It should pay itself back eventually but I'm still staggered by the money they've put down.

we tend to think of activsion blizzard as just those big names but king being part of them too means they're big in the moblie space too .. i think thats were ther real reason for the money being as high as it is is ..i could be wrong but between that , cod , and wow/overwatch they really have alot of 'key' casual games that the masses that don't Always follow other gaming new and things seem really into playing in general.

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Ohverture

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There's no way they retain Kotick beyond the deal closing. If anything, Microsoft are, while acting in their own self interest, still doing something that will help clean up the perception of the industry in the face of the fuckwitttery coming out of BK and the whole rotten scaffold the company is sitting on. They won't announce Kotick's departure until it's a dead legal certainty.

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El_Blarfo

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I'm not mad at Microsoft for buying Activision/Blizzard specifically. Will the deal ultimately be bad for consumers and developers alike? Oh sure, almost certainly. But if you're a happy Gamepass consumer, I think your conscience should be clear if you want to keep paying for it. (I mean, as clear as it can be for giving any megacorporation money in the first place.)

Kotick and company will almost certainly be shown the door... with a generous multi-million dollar severance package. Which is, of course, awful. But totally predictable.

In the event that the Activision ghouls stay on and are given more power and influence, you'd have a valid complaint, but that seems pretty unlikely.