August 9, 2022
Activision lost Blizzard co-leader;  Overwatch, Diablo launch delayed

Activision Blizzard co-leader Jen Onall on Tuesday decided to step down from her role, giving full control to Mike Ybarra, and the videogame publisher halted the launch of two highly-anticipated titles, sending its shares down 10 percent.

Yabara said the delays in the rollouts of Overwatch 2 and Diablo IV were due to leadership changes, but did not give a new timeline for their launches, while the company forecast a tremendously adjusted sales in the holiday quarter.

Onal and Ybra took over three months after Alan Brack stepped down as chairman a week after the company was sued for workplace harassment and discrimination.

Following this, the company fired more than 20 employees last month, 20 of whom faced other forms of disciplinary action.

The owner of the Call of Duty and Candy Crush franchises also created a $1.8 million (about Rs 135 crore) fund to compensate and repair eligible claimants, while chief executive Bobby Kotick said he would take a sizable salary.

In a letter to the company’s gaming community, Onle said it would leave at the end of the year to focus more on diversity in the gaming industry, which “hopes to have a broader industry impact that Blizzard will benefit from” and other studios.

With her exit, the company now has three women executives in its 13-member leadership team.

Meanwhile, as pandemic-related restrictions eased, Activision’s total monthly active users in the third quarter remained unchanged at 390 million compared to a year ago, indicating slowing demand for games.

The company, which faces competition from rivals Electronic Arts and Take-Two, said in-game net bookings were similar in the third quarter of 2020.

Its adjusted sales for the third quarter were $1.88 billion (about Rs 14,020 crore), in line with Wall Street’s expectations.

The company said that it expects adjusted sales of $2.78 billion (about Rs 20,735 crore) in the fourth quarter. According to data from Refinitiv, analysts were expecting it to be $2.93 billion (about Rs 21,855 crore).

© Thomson Reuters 2021

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