Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick Officially Resign, Matt Booty take the Lead

bobby kotick

With Bobby Kotick officially stepping down on December 29th, 2023, Microsoft has taken the next big step toward more closely integrating Activision Blizzard into its expanding gaming division.

And one man now finds himself holding more power than ever before: Microsoft Gaming’s Matt Booty.

Microsoft opted not to appoint a direct replacement for Kotick.

Instead, they enlisted a lineup of Activision Blizzard executives under Matt Booty, Microsoft’s game content and studios president.

In Xbox chief Phil Spencer’s memo, Booty will now oversee the various Activision, Blizzard, and King development heads.

So what exactly does this concentration of authority mean for the future direction of these beloved studios under new Microsoft ownership?

Let’s analyze the key leadership changes and what Booty’s expanded purview signals.

Matt Booty’s Rapid Rise to Microsoft Gaming Power Player


Industry veteran Matt Booty has steadily risen up the Xbox ranks since first joining Microsoft from Midway Games way back in 2010.

In 2014, He played a key role in the acquisition of Minecraft and successfully integrated the Mojang team from Stockholm into Microsoft.

He started leading all Xbox game development before eventually being promoted to oversee the entire content and IP side of the business in 2022.

With that expanded purview, Booty already found himself managing juggernaut franchises like Halo and Forza while launching new IPs like Starfield.

But now with Activision Blizzard added to his growing portfolio, the buck stops with Booty across virtually all of Microsoft’s gaming properties, from Call of Duty to Candy Crush.

Microsoft Gaming’s New Corporate Flow Chart of Power

While Kotick’s departure leaves big shoes to fill business operations-wise, Microsoft notably hasn’t named any single direct replacement, believing Activision Blizzard’s remaining top brass is sufficiently capable of keeping revenues flowing.

For now, franchise heads across Activision, Blizzard, and King will all funnel up directly to Booty instead of any newly crowned CEO.

But Booty himself still reports back to Phil Spencer organizationally, who oversees gaming’s entire future corporate vision and strategy alongside CEO Satya Nadella.

Spencer’s recent elevation to Microsoft corporate senior leadership gives him huge influence on acquisitions and other systemic choices that shape Xbox and Windows gaming broadly in the years ahead.

The Key New Studio Heads Tasked With Maintaining Independence

While Kotick helped Activision Blizzard scale into a massive business conglomerate, he wasn’t necessarily known for his hands-on game development prowess himself.

That creative burden now falls more heavily on studio leaders like Call of Duty captain Rob Kostich, Blizzard’s Mike Ybarra, and King head Tjodolf Sommestad.

All three notably get to remain fully empowered running their respective development and franchise planning.

Maintaining that individual autonomy helped Microsoft assuage anti-trust regulators fearing too much consolidation under Xbox control.

The open question remains whether losing Bobby Kotick’s iconoclastic business influence and willingness to spend big to acquire talent ends up hampering Activision Blizzard’s competitive edge long term.

For now, at least, Microsoft seems confident that Matt Booty linking arms with the existing studio production heads offers the best balance of creative stability and refreshed strategic direction.

Braff Takes Over Bethesda/ZeniMax Leadership to Round Out Booty’s Web

The final piece rounding out Matt Booty’s newly expanded kingdom is Jill Braff assuming leadership over Bethesda and ZeniMax operations.

Her close working relationship with Booty and Spencer should increase coordination between those RPG powerhouses and Activision Blizzard.

With Braff also overseeing Microsoft’s casual mobile teams, her purview now spans virtually every gaming genre and business model Microsoft currently operates in.

That gives Matt Booty a key strategic lieutenant able to analyze shifting market conditions and player tastes to help prioritize operational decisions.

Combined with established names like Halo’s Pierre Hintze and Age of Empire’s Shannon Loftis continuing leading their respective franchises, Microsoft Gaming now feels like a consolidated Avengers-esque team of gaming veterans all working to execute on Matt Booty’s expanding vision.

The Road Ahead: What the Future Holds for Microsoft Gaming

Looking at the chess board post-reshuffle, it’s clear Matt Booty now sits in a prime position of immense influence rivaling Xbox godfather Phil Spencer himself in day-to-day importance.

With so many legendary studios to steer, Activision Blizzard likely needs Booty’s full attention if its games are going to thrive.

Meanwhile, Spencer maintains corporate oversight but seems ready to focus more externally on future partnerships and industry maneuvering befitting Microsoft Gaming’s new standing astride Western gaming almost entirely.

The billion-dollar question remains whether this consolidated yet decentralized leadership structure can cut through bureaucratic red tape and encourage studios to take enough creative risks to compete with the likes of Sony’s tightened PlayStation ecosystem.

What do you think of Microsoft Gaming’s new leadership changes?

Share your takes on Matt Booty’s expanded responsibility and whether Activision Blizzard seems poised for a creative resurgence or more corporatized stagnation under its new steward!

Discover more from Gaming Foodle

Subscribe to get the latest posts to your email.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *