US federal investigation into game publisher Activision Blizzard

The US stock market watchdog SEC has launched an investigation into game publisher Activision Blizzard. The SEC examines, among other things, whether the company has informed investors in a timely manner about reports of discrimination, sexual harassment and sexual misconduct in the workplace.

Among others, chief executive Bobby Kotick would have been summoned, writes The Wall Street Journal. Researchers would like to understand his communication about reports with other high-ranking in the company. Activision Blizzard tells the paper to fully participate in the SEC investigation.

Its a civil, not criminal investigation. The SEC wants to find out if any information has been withheld that may be important to investors. On its own site, the watchdog writes that surveys โ€œoften take months and sometimes yearsโ€.

Two years of research

Activision Blizzard is one of the biggest game publishers in the world. The company includes well-known games such as Call of Duty, World of Warcraft and Overwatch. The publishers value was estimated at around $70 billion (59 billion euros) in January.

The federal investigation is the next stain on Activision Blizzards now pretty stained blazon. In July, the state of California sued the publisher for discrimination and sexual harassment in the workplace.

A regulator conducted two years of investigation into reports of sexual harassment and discrimination against female employees. The indictment states, among other things, that women are paid less than men at the company and that there is a macho culture.

Executives would also have harassed women. An employee allegedly committed suicide following a sexual relationship with an executive. She would have done that on a business trip after male colleagues shared nude photos of her.

Measures

A small thousand (former) employees informed after the California indictment to support the lawsuit against the company. In addition, several directors have left the company over the past few months, including those of the leading Blizzard Entertainment. The company also lost about 9 percent of value on the stock market.

In an initial statement, Activision Blizzard said he would not recognize itself in the charges, much to the annoyance of numerous employees. Topman Kotick returned to that in an internal mail a few days later.

He said it should have been better listened to the employees when they expressed their complaints. He also announced a package of measures to address sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace.