Blizzard | Activision is currently headlining all over the world as a result of some seriously disgusting allegations made off the back of an investigation by California's Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH). These allegations highlight some serious and appalling practices coming from within Blizzard, in which the working culture has been described as being a ‘Frat House’ workplace.
Now I won’t get into the details of these allegations as they have been reported on in mass, but as more and more ex-staff members, (bravely may I add) stand up to share their personal experiences, I have found myself in a state of questioning, with the primary ones being: ‘How do I support those people who have been wronged by these despicable practices?’ and ‘Do I continue to support Blizzard, as those people who have been wronged work for the company and work incredibly hard to make products that we love and use today?’
Do I continue to support Blizzard by buying their products and continuing my Subscriptions?
This one seemed to be a simple ‘no’ on the surface of things, but I began to ponder a little more and there’s a lot to consider here. In 2020, last year, MarketWatch reported on Blizzard CEO, Bobby Kotick, who took home a salary packed which included a $150million (Article Linked Here). However, as reported on Glassdoor, staff Salaries in Blizzard are actually pretty good in comparison to the industry with salaries ranging from an average of £20k per annum to £65k per annum.
The reason this is important is because, if suddenly everyone miraculously stopped buying Blizzard products and services, the company could collapse. If it were to collapse, these hard workers (who are the victims of others disgraceful behaviour) could find themselves without jobs, with the added stress of needing to job hunt and find jobs that pay as well as their roles with Blizzard. This is the double-edged sword of morality that I’ve been deeply considering since the allegations have rightly been raised to the surface.
However, from the CEO salary package alone, it's VERY easy to see the culture of the organisation embedded in this alone. Let’s just use Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot, for comparison. I’ve been researching his take home and everywhere I look it reports SIGNIFICANTLY lower than what Blizzard CEO Kotick has claimed. With SimplyWall.st reporting a take-home of roughly £1.7million (including bonus) and Comparably reporting a similar salary bundle. I’m not implying Ubisoft is good or bad, but it's clear that it doesn’t nuke its net profits into its CEO, indicating a culture of spending its money in other places… which is really important.
So based on the above, where do I sit on the scale… to support Blizzard or to not support Blizzard? To be honest, Blizzard being hit with a potential whopping $400million bill for the lawsuit, I don’t think I’m going to be supporting the developer any further with subs or game purchases. I think if enough people think in the same way as me, a loss on stocks, a loss through fines and a loss through sales will force the company to find and route out the problems. It will force the company to reset publicly and make a change at the risk of its own existence. For me, it comes down to the matter that in business, ‘Culture’ is the hardest factor to change (Those business qualified readers out there, will completely understand what I mean here). Even if you change all the seniors in a business, its culture will still stick. It needs much more expensive and dramatic change. Not all of the people who acted in these horrible ways will be held accountable for their actions… and that’s the issue here. We need the company to invest money to investigate allegations internally and actually end the careers of these offenders.
How do I support those people who have been wronged by these despicable practices?
Over the next few days, week’s and months this lawsuit will go through so many motions and more and more people will come out of the woodwork to share their experiences. Please, take time to read these experiences and share words of support. This lawsuit is going to bring back repressed memories for some of these victims, and it’s really hard to speak openly about these. Some people won't even have realised they were a victim, and it will only begin to set in as they read other’s experiences. So, my first and most important bit of advice is to join up as a community of gamers and support the people who made us great games, that we enjoyed and loved, whilst they themselves were going through a time of darkness and abuse.
For any developers who happen to be in the UK, who experienced any of these allegations, point them to support functions such as:
For our friends in America who have experienced any of the allegations made, please urge them to seek support from the following resources:
I’d like to end this point on, most people who are victims feel scared or disinterested in getting support as they do not believe themselves to be actual victims or believe they are over-reacting. The truth of the matter is we need to help everyone impacted by this, understand that they ARE a victim and that we will support them. 3Bit gives its utmost respect, support and love to those people who have experienced any of these allegations. We stand by your side, we may be a small voice, but we are a voice for you and the injustice that you have faced.
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