The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick was considering the purchase of gaming sites Kotaku and PC Gamer in order to “change the public narrative” around his company.
Activision has been at the centre of allegations regarding workplace culture and harassment for some time now, a fact which has forced the likes of Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft to re-evaluate their relationship with the troubled publisher.
However, Microsoft took perhaps the most extreme option to change the way things work at Activision by acquiring the company for almost $70 billion yesterday, in a deal which gives the Xbox owner control of franchises like Call of Duty, Crash Bandicoot, World of Warcraft and Overwatch.
The report itself hints that Kotick’s aim was create a ‘new story’ to shift media attention away from Activision’s problems, rather than to actively suppress outlets that had previously posted negative coverage.
Activision has denied the WSJ’s report, while Kotaku owner G/O Media has declined to comment. According to our friends over at Eurogamer, PC Gamer – which is owned by Future Publishing – has chosen not to respond to questions about the report.
The Wall Street Journal also reports that Kotick will exit the company once the deal is completed, which is expected to be some time in 2023. Prior to the Microsoft deal happening, it was reported that Kotick was open to leaving the company if ongoing issues could not be solved “with speed”.