Bobby Kotick: What Does Microsoft’s Acquisition of Activision Blizzard Mean for the CEO?

Bobby Kotick, the CEO of Activision Blizzard, is excited for the future of the video game holding company. In January, Microsoft shocked the gaming industry with the announcement it was purchasing Kotick’s Activision Blizzard for a staggering $68.7 billion. That’s the most expensive acquisition in video game industry history. And according to Kotick, it was also the best decision to help keep Activision Blizzard on the cutting edge of future gaming trends.


“We’ve had many conversations over the years about various forms of collaboration,” explains Kotick. “And as we have started to see the real competition, we are sort of at the beginnings of what the metaverse will be like. And in that race for the metaverse, it started to become apparent that there were a variety of resources and talent that we needed [at Activision] in order for us to be able to continue on that journey.” 


What Is the Metaverse? 


To simplify, a metaverse is a group or network of 3D virtual worlds that make social connections. Currently, the Big Four metaverses are Sandbox, Crypotvoxels, Decentraland, and Somnium. And it’s big business: Last year, sales of real estate in the metaverse surpassed $500 million. Analytics firms and investors predict those figures could double in 2022. According to Janine Yorio, CEO of the metaverse advisory firm Republic Realm, “There are big risks but potentially big rewards.” 


According to Jefferies Group’s Andrew Uerkwitz, the Microsoft acquisition of Activision “ solidifies the view that interactive media is a very big form of media and has lots of growth. It is very real, this metaverse or whatever you want to call it. Microsoft pulling the trigger now validates [it].”


Activision Blizzard is responsible for many popular video games, such as World of Warcraft, Candy Crush, Heroes of the Storm, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 and 2, Diablo, Overwatch, and Call of Duty. Bobby Kotick explains, “We may have been a big company in video gaming, but now when you look at the landscape of who the competitors are, it is a different world today than ever before.”


Bobby Kotick Stands To Make Millions 


Speaking of big rewards, Kotick will quite possibly receive a $375 million payout once the deal with Microsoft is finalized. And while he’s still the acting CEO, according to an email that Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer sent to staff the morning the acquisition was announced, all Activision Blizzard businesses will begin reporting to Spencer as soon as the deal is done. 


Kotick told a New York Times reporter that “post-close, I will be available as needed.” That’s because Kotick has faith Microsoft is the right company to take over the video game empire he started as a college student. “While there were — there are — a lot of other companies that would be interested in a company like ours, Microsoft was clearly the company that made the most sense,” he said


Bobby Kotick reiterated that sentiment when he told VentureBeat “whatever role [Microsoft] wants me to have in making sure that we integrate the business and we get a proper and smooth transition, I’m willing to do. However much time that takes, if it is a month after the close, if it is a year after that, I just care that the transition goes well.”

During his decades-long tenure at Activision Blizzard, Kotick says the best business advice he learned was to focus on one thing at a time. “I’m such a big believer in that,” he says. “Do the one best thing you know, and you may fail in it, but focus on the one thing, don’t get distracted.”