Microsoft Gaming's CEO shared that he "feels good" about how Microsoft's deal with Activision is progressing and said that Xbox would look to reduce the friction caused by different platforms.
Microsoft's deal to purchase Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion is expected to close by summer 2023. However, prior to this, the deal should be approved by a number of global regulators. In the wake of the ongoing review processes, Microsoft’s CEO of gaming Phil Spencer gave an interview to Bloomberg where he discussed the progress being made towards finalizing the deal.
Despite the deal currently being under a lot of regulatory scrutinies, Spencer seems to be quite positive about how it is progressing. He believes that it is a natural thing that such big tech deals are always scrutinized but said he is sure that so far the progress is good adding that he appreciates those asking the hard questions.
"I feel good about the progress that we've been making, but I go into the process supportive of people who maybe aren't as close to the gaming industry asking good, hard questions about 'What is our intent? What does this mean? If you play it out over five years, is this constricting a market? Is it growing a market?'," Spencer said.
Activision was massively criticized for its toxic workplace culture including discrimination and persistent harassing behavior in the workplace. If Microsoft's deal to acquire Activision is approved, Microsoft might inherit this legacy. As Activision previously claimed, it is currently working on improving the situation and provided a list of changes that have been recently implemented to improve the working culture.
Speaking of Activision's attempts to address these issues, Spencer shared that he's confident that the company is committed to improving the situation.
"I believe they're committed to that," Spencer said. "When I look at the work that they're doing now – there's always more that can be done – but I believe from the studio leaders there that I know very well, some of them former Xbox members, that they're committed to this journey. And I applaud that regardless of the deal."
In May, Activision Blizzard's subsidiary Raven Software formed a union and at that time, Spencer said that Microsoft would recognize Raven Software’s union once the deal to purchase Activision Blizzard is completed.
Speaking of unions in this recent interview, Spencer shared that though he had never had experience working with unions before, he recognizes "workers' needs to feel safe and heard and compensated fairly in order to do great work."
"We definitely see a need to support the workers in the outcomes that they want to have," he said.
"We really love to be able to bring more players in reducing friction, making people feel safe, secure when they're playing, allowing them to find their friends, play with their friends, regardless of what device – I think in the long run that is good for this industry," Spencer said.