Activision Blizzard, one of the largest gaming companies in the world, has been trending recently, and for all the wrong reasons. It started with California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing filed a lawsuit against the company’s “frat-boy” culture workplace. The company’s apathetic response to the suit had the employees, both former and current, signing an open letter (which has now collected over 1600 signatures), asking for more diversity and equal pay and opportunities in the workplace. On July 28, 2021, the employees staged a walkout.
Support has been pouring in from fellow colleagues in the industry, gamers and influencers. The dilemma remains about how best to voice their support. Opinions are divided about how they can make a difference to make the company take notice. Several are in favour of stopping the use of any games published by Activision Blizzard. This, on the face of it, seems like a good way to show their support. However, as pointed out by several others, this could have far reaching impacts which will do more harm than good to the victims.
As is the case with most games with dwindling popularity, Activision Blizzard too will call off the games. This will result in employee lay-offs, salary cuts and more such consequences which will end up affecting the employees. In the meanwhile, the workers group founded by the employees continue gathering momentum and raised certain demands, such as a “workers’-group conducted audit“ which they hope are addressed. However, the company has not yet addressed them.
Here is Video Game Writer/Journalist Alanah Pearce's Take on the Dilemma Surrounding Activision Blizzard
The debates went on following Activision Blizzard’s latest earnings call. While the administration seemed contrite they have not given in to the demands of the workers’ group, yet. As the outrage gathers momentum, the company’s hiring of the prestigious law firm WilmerHale does not bode well. The firm while reputed also has a reputation for its methodical suppression of employee unions. They also had a role to play in helping Amazon stop their employees from unionizing.
As things keep heating up, it remains to be seen whether Activision Blizzard will set a precedent and set a benchmark by changing its ways or will it use brute force to stem this struggle. In an industry that is notorious for its discrimination against women, the current scenario has hocked us all to our cores. We extend our support to the victims. And in their struggle for equality and the right to a safer workplace, we are committed to helping them spread the word.
As we ponder on how best to support the movement, let us know your thoughts in the comments below.