I’m guessing because they haven’t been paid their share of the profits and savings. FTC only cares about themselves nothing more.


And yet

Vaderhoff, avatar

This also pretty shitty on account that Kotick initiated loads of layoffs just before acquisition talks were even public. This is usual practice to make the company seem more valuable.

Vaderhoff, avatar

I don’t think I’ve seen a game studio acquisition happen without layoffs of some sort. Doesn’t make it right, but it does seem like a horrible routine.

CosmicCleric, (edited ) avatar

I don’t think I’ve seen a game studio acquisition happen without layoffs of some sort. Doesn’t make it right, but it does seem like a horrible routine.

It really depends on if the layoffs were done because they were duplicate people for the same job position, versus clearing house so that the stockholders are happier by having better profits.


The price tag, followed by a massive round of layoffs is eyebrow-raising.


Stock markets love capex, hates opex.

“Well done, you’ve spent 75 billion to buy market share!!”

“Oh no, you would spend at least 230 million/year for these employees - that just won’t do”.

Nevermind the fact that 1900 roles also buys market share (and you could run 1900 people for 300+ years), but opex is opex and execs are bonused on margins.


For the unaware:
Capex=capital expenditures. These are the one-time purchases, which grow the business.
Opex=operating expenditures. These are the recurring costs of doing business. Payroll, utility payments, rent for office buildings, etc…

Basically, the stock market loves it when you buy things. Stock owners see it as growing the company, and therefore growing the value of the stock. But they hate operating expenditures, because those make the company seem less valuable; Buying Activision (capex) is great for stock prices, but paying their employees (opex) isn’t.

This is why big corporate acquisitions are usually immediately followed by huge rounds of layoffs for the acquired company. The new company owns the things, but doesn’t want the opex to show up on the next quarterly expense report. So they’ll usually gut the acquired company. Because they’re usually buying other companies for things like copyrights, patents, trade secrets, etc… If they were interested in the employees at the acquired company, they’d be using recruiting tactics and headhunting, instead of simply buying the entire company.


And the worst part is they will then brag about how low their opex is to the employees that are still there in the quarterly all-hands, as if it isn’t representing how much money they are making but not paying to employees. Well, ok, the worst part is the doing rather than the bragging, but still.

sensiblepuffin, avatar

Idk, I’m starting to think that the shamelessness of bragging to your employees that you’re fucking them over is worse. At the very least, the employees should feel insulted that they’re supposed to be excited about it.


I wonder how many even realize that operating profit even is the money they make after paying every single expense including salaries.

sensiblepuffin, avatar

Generally, the ones who understand the numbers are making enough that they don’t feel as fucked over. In my experience, anyway

dunestorm, avatar

Yeah but 1,900 staff, come the fuck on that’s a mass exodus not a layoff. I’m in a company of 300+ people and it’s a HUGE number of people, I can hardly process over 6x as many layoffs…

Vaderhoff, avatar

Oh absolutely agreed. It just sucks that this isn’t unusual, no matter how small or great the number. Hope the peeps get snatched up by better studios


Ah good house cleaning at Activision Blizzard was long overdue …

nicetriangle avatar

The actual fuck did they think was gonna happen? Literally everyone saw this coming except the FTC somehow I guess.


The FTC argued this would happen, it’s the court that swallowed Microsoft’s tripe. This is the FTC’s “I told you, bro!”


The FTC knew it was coming, and tried to stop the merger. But they got shot down in the courts, because a judge believed Microsoft was going to be benevolent and not immediately lay off all of the acquired company’s employees.

This is the FTC’s way of publicly slapping the judge.


I’m sure the judge is losing sleep over this…

NOT_RICK, avatar

The FTC tried to stop the merger, it’s not their fault. Blame the courts.


Like when do big mergers like this not end in layoffs? The redundancy in management wouldn’t make sense. Like what does the FTC think Microsoft was going to do? 😆


It was more than just managers and redundant positions that were laid off. And it was mostly blizzard employees laid off specifically.


/no please don’t attack this innocent multi trillion dollar company


I don’t think he was defending the company, more saying that OF COURSE they’re going to do big layoffs, it only makes sense, and so if you (the courts) don’t stop them, then well… You don’t blame a lion for hunting a gazelle, it’s just what they do.

magnetosphere avatar

Microsoft reneged on promises it made in court…

If those promises aren’t legally binding, then why take them into account in the first place?


I will literally never understand why the word of a corporation has any weight if it isn’t bound by law.

You need to force corporations to act if it’s against their own interests.


It is because the billionaires write the laws through ALEC. The only part of the system which isn’t working as intended is that they had to make any promises in the first place.


Microsoft-Activision-Blizzard always reminds me of this:…

Keep in mind that article is from 1998. Prescient as always, the Onion really is America’s Finest News Source™.


Bill Clinton, chief executive of U.S. Government, a division of MCI-WorldCom, praised Monday’s merger as “an excellent move.”’



Bill Clinton, chief executive of U.S. Government, a division of MCI-WorldCom, praised Monday’s merger as “an excellent move.”

I’ll be… they even predicted the “sovereign citizen” movement!


The Onion always tells factual stories. They’re just stories from the future.


Taco Bell won the franchise wars

nicetriangle avatar

There's a book called The Media Monopoly that details how media companies have consolidated to just a handful of mega corps and the book had to be republished 5 times since the 80s because every few years the number keeps shrinking dramatically. The author later released a brand new book called The New Media Monopoly which is essentially the 7th edition of the original book and at this point we're in a fucked up late stage version of the problem he originally detailed.

From the Wiki on the author:

In 2000 Bagdikian stated, "Every edition has been considered by some to be alarmist and every edition ends up being too conservative." In this latest version, Bagdikian wrote that the number of corporations controlling most of the media decreased to five: Disney, News Corporation, Time Warner, Viacom, and Bertelsmann. He argued, "This gives each of the five corporations and their leaders more communications power than was exercised by any despot or dictatorship in history."

The Onion is a bit too accurate sometimes.


Then there’s the entire idea of Corporations. They used to be limited to government issued charters. Now they’re independent shield entities for rich people with human rights.


Eli5 please… in lieu of US trust busting, couldn’t literally any government entity like the EU, where msft etc Al do business, have stopped this acquisition? How did this happen in the first place?


As far as I understand the circumstances, because Microsoft and Activision-Blizzard are both US companies, they ultimately fall under US regulation except for any of their offices/holdings in other countries, where they have to abide by the local laws. The reason the FTC is upset now is that Microsoft had said that Activision-Blizzard was largely going to be its own independent company under the Microsoft brand, so these layoffs go against those promises - especially with the wording about removing “overlap” between the companies, which points to them firing people at Activision-Blizzard who had the same job as people already working at Microsoft. The only reason that they’d do that is if they’re not actually letting Activision-Blizzard run on their own and are going to be merging the company into Microsoft more than they had said they would.

I do remember something about the UK signing off on the merger, so I assume that there are some countries that did their own “due diligence” and approved the acquisition, but a majority of these layoffs are in California by the sounds of it, so all any of them could really do at this point is hold Microsoft liable if they don’t follow local labor laws about severances and the like. I assume that they felt the same way as the FTC, in that the promise of Activision-Blizzard running on their own meant that there was little concern about monopolizing the industry.


I really don’t get this argument regardless of which way things “should be”.

Even and independent Activision-Blizzard under Microsoft would have overlap with HR or something. I can’t imagine leaving them “independent” wasn’t going to entail some trimming of fat.


According to the article, Microsoft is laying off 1,900 people from its games division, roughly about 8% of the workforce in their game studios. Of those 1,900, at least 899 of them are confirmed to be from Activision-Blizzard’s offices in California, potentially more.

That’s a lot more like a full merger than the “vertical acquisition” that Microsoft claimed was going to be the case. Obviously, there was going to be some redundancy regardless of how much they were going to be left to self operate, but that’s a lot of jobs cut, and we don’t know what kinds of jobs are even being cut.

IMO, the merger was a lose-lose situation no matter which way you slice it, either Microsoft further reduces competition with the buyout, or Bobby is left in charge, but the FTC is upset because Microsoft said that Acitivision-Blizzard was basically going to be running as they had been before the buyout.


Any country that a company wants to do business in ultimately has a say on things like mergers. But every country of course has specific things that it cares about and US employees are not on the EU’s list, it’s all about the software market.


Title is weirdly worded. FTC is happy with Microsoft, just not too happy.

Reverendender, (edited )

Microsoft has realized it can do absolutely anything and that the government will do absolutely nothing. And what is the point of all of this? A few already, enormously wealthy executives get a few more millions of dollars? Who fucking cares? The real important thing is the people doing the work to create a product that millions of others enjoy. That they have a job and can earn a livelihood. But none of that matters to the psychopaths who run these corporations. Why do we continue to allow this to happen? I don’t know why I even bother writing comments anymore. I’ve depressed myself.

MxM111 avatar

What’s the alternative? Communism? State ownership of the means of production? Those are worse.


Yes, the only options are crony capitalism and communism. Nailed it.

MxM111 avatar

Did not say crony. And yes, there are alternatives like feudalism, you think they worth mentioning? And I specifically mentioned state ownership too, so, you can count socialism (as economic system there too).


Did not say crony

It’s silent, but it’s always there. It’s like the silent q in ‘cat’.

MxM111 avatar



Doesn’t it seem like communism and capitalism have the same end game? Company towns and one company that produces everything and you have no options. The only difference I guess is that under capitalism, the owners of the means of production are not accountable to anyone and can not be removed whereas under communism the owners of the means of production are democratically elected members of the workforce that are accountable to the people and can be removed if need be.

Are you sure you’re not confusing communism with authoritarianism or fascism? Capitalism is more closely associated with the latter than communism.

MxM111 avatar

In any place where state ownership of means of manufacturing was implemented it lead to dictatorship or dictatorship like state. So, one can see how one can confuse them. But no, I do not confuse them, for one is economic system, and another is political.

So, let me ask, in that model that you describe, who owns the means of manufacturing? State or not?


Why must the state own anything, for it to be a more equitable situation? The people who do the work should own the work, all getting a say in what happens, in terms of what they’re doing, where they’re going, and who’s getting fired. The closest thing to “owning” an individual would have is a person, or likely a team, functioning as spokespersons for negotiating with the state or other companies, but only to communicate how the workers have chosen to conduct business, the only real power they have being communication.


Why must the state own anything



Why must the state own anything -with regards to the conpany-…

MxM111 avatar

So Unions under capitalism?


This is, yes, one of the options my post allows for.

MxM111 avatar

So, we have it now, then? Or are you advocating for forced Unionization?


Perhaps not forced, I’m not really a fan of that much state control, but broader adoption, more public and government support (support, not force), things like this. I’ll confess I don’t have a “perfect” solution, I doubt anyone does, but it’s definitely not any of the ones we’re using today.

MxM111 avatar

Yeah, I am here with you. That’s what I meant in my original post by “but what’s the alternative?”. It is just many here acts as if there is an obvious thing to do, but the reality is far from it.


I think that a lot of people are jaded with capitalism specifically because there’s not as much buy-in for unions as there should be. For instance, someone earlier made the distinction of “crony capitalism” elsewhere in this thread. That’s a lot more like what we live in right now FEELS than actual capitalism.


You mean in communism? I’m no expert but I believe it’s the workers, even though “owning” doesn’t mean quite the same as we use it now.

MxM111 avatar

“Workers” is too abstract. Which workers? How is it handled? How do you start new business? Who/how it is paid? Who gets the profit? In what proportions? The natural solution is to have state ownership and saying “the state is the people”, but this is exactly what was done in, say USSR. And it does not work well.


The only way to fight back is with your wallet. Unfortunately we are SUBSTANTIALLY outnumbered. It is what it is.


Who is outnumbered ?


People that are willing to abstain from purchasing a game in protest versus the “shut up and take my money” masses

InEnduringGrowStrong, avatar

I’m still boycotting World of Warcraft, even though I’m a big fan of Warcraft and RPGs.
I simply refuse to pay a subscription.
Luckily, that worked well and the game didn’t take off at all.


When your weapons are dollars, we are woefully ill equipped

wrath_of_grunge avatar

i'm all for the government breaking up corps, or stopping mergers, but this one needed to happen. however much it cost to get Bobby Kotick gone, is a net positive.

besides, we're talking about spending Microsoft's money. they fucking got it. so what's the fuss?

if the deal had been blocked, how would that have been better for the industry? also, probably the more important question, how would that have been better for the consumer?

Reverendender, (edited )

I’m not upset about the merger. I’m upset about Microsoft lying to the government and probably getting away with it. And the money should be used to pay the employees who actually create the products, not gone to enrich the assholes in charge, who think they do important jobs.


You’re kidding right? Bobby Kotick doesn’t give a shit, he’s laughing all the way to the bank. He’s the only winner in this situation other than Microsoft. Regardless of the Microsoft merger, he was on his way out, he would’ve left even if it hadn’t gone through, this just gave him an excuse to leave quicker and get a fat paycheck on his way out.

It’s also not about spending Microsoft’s money. Yes they have it, but consolidating so many developers under one roof removes an aspect of the competitive market. Which historically means less competition, higher prices, less innovation and poor quality control.

But I mean, hey, you get CoD on gamepass now! That’s pretty cool right?! Right…?

dunestorm, avatar

Blizzard don’t make Blizzard games anymore, all of the original staff left a very long time ago. They are just Blizzard in name and nothing else.


This is why I have no qualms about piracy. The workers get shafted either way.


They talk about broken promises and misrepresentation of what they would do after the merger. Corporations aren’t people and don’t have morals to stop them from breaking promises or just flat out lying. The only way they will do anything is if it makes them money or they are forced (regulated)


Corporations aren’t people and don’t have morals to stop them from breaking promises or just flat out lying

I think this is pure bullshit. In the end corporation are guided by people, who make decision and have a clear chain of command. When a corporation promise something, there are people behind that signed off the promise.

And you can punish a corporation by simply punishing the people who sign off what the corporatoion does, at any level. I mean, it is good to be the CEO and get the big bucks, fine, but if the corporation you are CEO of does something wrong it is your responsability to fix it and take the punishment for it.


I agree with you, but the organizations clearly have no morals. If you want to infer that means the boardroom occupants are a bunch of ghouls then sure. But we haven’t meaningfully held an executive to account for a corporation’s actions for a long time. The end effect is a sociopathic pursuit of money.


But we haven’t meaningfully held an executive to account for a corporation’s actions for a long time.

That’s exactly the problem but it not the same than saying “Corporations aren’t people and don’t have morals”.


Where’s the morality then? What have they done for their employees and customers that wasn’t forced by law?


Nothing. Which is what is showing that companies could be punished for not following the laws.


There aren’t laws saying the company had to tell the truth, so if they lie, what’s the punishment?

Edit: also, wouldn’t the power to punish them have to come from some sort of law or regulation? 🤔


There aren’t laws saying the company had to tell the truth, so if they lie, what’s the punishment?

Try to sign a contract (as company) lying about your obligations as see how it work.

What is missing is the will to punish them.


The problem is that the actual people who make decisions are -legally required- to seek as much profit as possible, for any public for-profit company. Saying you can punish the individual in charge for behaving immorally puts them in a catch-22. Suddenly, they’re damned if they make a moral decision that costs shareholders money, and damned if they make an immoral decision in pursuit of profit.

We need a better system where profit isn’t the final thing, or at least isn’t the ONLY thing. The punishments need to come, somehow, from the whole company, but as is that’s really only punishing the have-nots at the bottom of the stack, for any financial punishment for them will hurt much more than a punishment for those at the top, and obviously imprisonment is off the table unless -an individual- does something worth imprisonment.


Not really, They’re already legally bound to seek profit, within the confines of the law. Changing the confines of the law doesn’t put them in a catch 22. It means they’re supposed to be professionals who can find profit in the white area.

theodewere avatar

but how can i, a humble citizen, help the FTC in its long term mission of protecting my labor rights.. what can i do to help them be more effective in labor negotiations on my behalf, i wonder..

NegativeLookBehind avatar

I’m sure they’ll do something about it

Lol I’m sorry I’m totally joking


They’re filing an appeal to undo the merger. What more do you want?

cosmic_slate, avatar


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    NegativeLookBehind avatar

    You’re right, I should have done that, my bad.

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