As the longtime CEO of Activision Blizzard, Bobby Kotick has seen gaming trends come and go. However, he has said he “is certain that [the company’s] incredible talent and extraordinary games combined with [its] shared commitment to be the very best workplace will enable us to grow in an increasingly more competitive race for leadership as gaming through the metaverse evolves.”
Bobby Kotick’s company is responsible for many of the most-loved gaming titles, including Diablo, Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, and Crash Bandicoot. Activision Blizzard’s stable of games is played in 190 countries worldwide. He said, “The next step is to bring together [gaming] communities because they have ambitions for their own gaming and metaverse initiatives. Established and emerging competitors see opportunities for virtual worlds filled with professionally produced content [combined with] user-generated content and rich social connections.”
Women Are Gaining Momentum in Gaming
Video games have a reputation for being a male-centric hobby. However, women are just as passionate about gaming. As a result, publishers and developers are stepping up their games to meet the changing demands and demographics. For example, at Activision Blizzard, 50% of its audience is female. According to Kotick, the company’s largest demographic of players is women between the ages of 25 to 49.
Bobby Kotick said that gamers who identify as women “play games like Candy Crush Saga.” During Q2 2022, the video game holding company reported earning $831 million from its mobile and ancillary side — a large chunk of that generated by women. The video game giant is also committed to diversifying its employees as well as its executive board.
It’s a step in the right direction. And organizations around the world are working to make video games more inclusive for women. One such organization is the nonprofit Women in Games. Its Ambassador program is a global initiative to help women understand the gaming business better.
Women in Games CEO Marie-Claire Isaaman stated, “The mainstream industry spent years targeting a ‘hard-core gamer’ demographic of primarily young men, with consoles and games designed and marketed heavily toward this audience in the 1990s and 2000s. Really, it is only since the so-called ‘casual revolution’ of the late 2000s — i.e., the rise of mobile and other nonconsole platforms — that females have constituted around half of game players.”
Concerning the industry’s efforts to improve workplace culture and make gaming more safe and inclusive for everyone, Isaaman sees room for improvement, “Well, it’s worth remembering discrimination needs to be addressed throughout wider society and culture; it doesn’t just occur in the game industries. But an area that needs particular support is the educational pipeline that serves the games sector. At school, girls often aren’t sufficiently encouraged to follow careers in games or technology,” she stated in an interview with MCV. “At college and university level, courses are often extremely male — both in staff and students — and the curricula can also reflect that. Consequently, girls can find it difficult to express themselves fully. Also, college or university management don’t always prioritize achieving gender balance in either cohorts or departments.”
Activision Blizzard is making moves to correct those issues. Bobby Kotick said that the company was committed to investing $250 million into the company’s development of ways to make the gaming and technology sectors more inclusive for underrepresented people.
As part of that effort, during the summer of 2022, the Santa Monica, California-based video game company launched the Level Up U program as part of its initiative to increase opportunities in gaming and technology for historically underrepresented communities. This three-month intensive program is intended to better help people get jobs in gaming. The inaugural program is focused on educating and developing engineering talent.
“Talent and diversity have always been critical to our success. The rapid growth of the industry, including our franchisees, has made it clear that we need to find new ways to attract and grow talent. [The company’s plan] is to expand to other skill areas, such as art and animation. I am incredibly excited about the potential of Level Up,” Kotick stated.
“We look at a broader set of skills, experiences, and capabilities that we believe matter most to an employee’s success at Activision Blizzard and revisited where those skills exist in the market,” explained Julie Hodges, the company’s chief people officer. Enrolled students get lodging and travel expenses covered, to better enable them to be successful with classroom work and interact with guest speakers and mentors.
Bobby Kotick: Mobile Games Are a Massive Success
The video game company’s Q2 2022 report confirmed that mobile games earned the company more profits than PC and console games combined. Its mobile games generated $831 million in profit during the second quarter of 2022, while its console titles generated $376 million and PC games earned $332 million.
Remember how women love to play Candy Crush Saga? How sweet it is for the video game company. That mobile game alone generated $684 million for Activision Blizzard. And Bobby Kotick has even bigger dreams for the free-to-play tile-matching mobile game. “I have long wanted to release a new part of Guitar Hero and Candy Crush where players will play against each other,” the CEO said.