Turmoil in Activision Blizzard

Judging by social networks and news from Activision Blizzard camps, the first shock is now gone, and all parties tend to produce a plan of actions.

Players have developed a personal attitude, which is largely varied across the whole player base. Some, like myself, chose to continue gaming in order to support the normal employees, including the abused – because a drop in company income would hit everyone, not just the management and the abusers.

Some people chose to restrain themselves from gaming until the case is resolved, and/or they developed an attitude – and that’s totally understandable, as me myself found it hard and conflicted to even look at Blizzard logo upon a login screen and battlenet launcher. It also concerns streamers and alike, as they would rather talk about the Blizz events, not play the game like nothing happened.

Some players canceled their subs or waiting for it to run out – also an understandable sentiment, sending a message to the company to an extent – although I must say again that this decision hits not just the abusers and deaf management, but the majority of developers.

Finally, the worst group just doesn’t care for the whole situation and is even irritated. All they need is employees got back to work, so that there was not any delay in content production and schedules (cause hey, they saved a cost of couple beers to pay for it!), and also claiming that it’s another sjw-activist initiated scandal – which it is certainly not. Can’t really comment or fight the attitude – a common human empathy is something you either have, or you have not, so this case seems lost.

In game, I don’t see a significant drop in numbers – people are very present in all the activities throughout the week, competing for daily quest mobs, and the group finder queues did not become longer.

Blizzard employees – I mean, the normal Blizzard employees, past and present – jumped to required statements and actions. JAB, Morhaime, Metzen, Brode, Holinka and alike made the statements everyone expected from them, repenting their blindness and lack of awareness – it’s not something they could ignore, and I’m glad they did, even if questions why they ignored the red light signals for so long still remain.

Blizzard employees en masse have taken a day off, talked a lot among themselves, produced their own statement and as of today, they’re doing a strike event. Everything is quite expected and logical, as they are in their total right to demand decent work conditions and atonement for the management sins. I support every such action, and whatever it takes to fix the damage and restore – or build anew a friendly, creative atmosphere which benefits everybody – including us, players.

Afrasiabi’s easter eggs in game were eliminated (NPC and item names, and stuff) – that’s what needed to be done, no question. This sort of canceling is what I support – it’s disgusting to come across tribute reminders of this sort when you’re in Azeroth.

What fills me with hope is that they’re not going down, however devastating the situation was. Quitting on the company and their games means the abusers won, and they’re so ready to struggle and fight both for the job they love and the worlds they create. It’s a high pressure on the company from the inside – from the actual hands and minds that make the games possible, and publicity and support is what they need today.

And one more thing – a pregnant woman working in Blizzard specifically tweeted and asked players not to drop the game or games. The company income influences the employee bonuses, and when the baby is due, she would need those for her family – or she wouldn’t be able to afford daycare or smth like that. Exactly what I was talking about.

Activision management behavior does not surprise me at the very least. The very first instinct was to lash back, which is exactly what they did, claiming the lawsuit inaccurate at best – never realising that such reaction would dig them a deeper grave. Only the reaction of the community, Blizzard employees and stock value drops made them to reconsider the tone, and produce a phone call across 500 employees and later a Kotick statement with a certain plan of actions. He claims that the previous responses were “tone deaf”, ironically, the statement itself is quite tone deaf.

Long story short, Activision behaves exactly like your normal cold, corporate bosses with zero empathy, acting in the interest of business, period, and failing to produce any and all normal human reactions. I don’t believe a grain of their sorry. Of course, they need to mitigate damage to the game development processes and take measures pre-emptively before the court hearings, so that their lawyers had more arguments in their favor, but whatever it takes to make changes for the better. Frankly – did we expect anything other than that from Kotick and Co?

***

The situation is still dire, and far from over. Still, I got hope that the company and the games we love might yet be saved. It’s simply in everyone’s interests – whichever they might be, our happy game experience, the joy of development, professional achievements and creating worlds, or cold-blooded numbers in stock value.

Like I said before, haters and abusers should not be able to take the upper hand and drown the company. We – we all, players, streamers, developers and managers alike – need it sanitized, so we could again look up to the beacon and this time to be quite sure that it’s a workplace of dreams, delivering the worlds with love and care in a most healthy environment.

One thought on “Turmoil in Activision Blizzard

  1. I agree. It will be a balancing act with those in power telling their people what they can do about it and without it being overly managed and then outside people brought in so that the powerful can not overly manage it. Having your actions being reviewed by your boss keeps all that lightning in a bottle, you need outside guys to bring fairness as long as those outside guys don’t have their own campaign to wage. But it needs, like you say, to be cleaned up and not just for show but for long time change.

    Like

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