The sordid tale of Activision Blizzard continues to unfold, culminating this week with a series of damning reports involving the company’s CEO Bobby Kotick. According to a number of courses, Kotick knew about the rampant sexual misconduct and harassment taking place at the company, yet chose not to inform the board–or anyone–of these troubling events, going so far as to commit heinous acts of his own, including threatening to have a former assistant killed. Given the tidal wave of bad PR that doesn’t seem to be receding any time soon, PlayStation has quietly removed Activision’s recent title Call of Duty: Vanguard from the PlayStation Store’s featured section.
Sony Interactive Entertainment’s CEO Jim Ryan has come forward with a statement in response to the allegations, writing that he and his team were “disheartened and frankly stunned to read that [Activision] has not done enough to address a deep-seated culture of discrimination and harassment. We outreached to Activision immediately after the article was published to express our deep concern and to ask how they plan to address the claims made in the article. We do not believe their statements of response properly address the situation,” Ryan stated.
Many are lamenting that PlayStation hasn’t taken the game down outright, but doing so may set a precedent too easy to abuse. While the company removed Cyberpunk 2077 due to its bugs and poor performance, removing a game due to the actions of Kotick would inevitably end up hurting the many good-hearted and hard-working developers that worked on Call of Duty: Vanguard. After walkouts and promises of change, it’s unclear what will happen to Activision Blizzard in the coming weeks and months, but changes need to be made. Any show of support that PlayStation makes is welcome, given the two’s long and close history.
Call of Duty: Vanguard was released on November 5, 2021, for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and PC. Earlier this week, it was announced that cheaters in the new title could face major penalties, including being banned from the entire series.