Video game maker Activision sued over "frat boy" work culture that tormented women

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CBS News 23 July, 2021 - 10:18am 39 views

Why is Activision getting sued?

California Sues Gaming Giant Activision Blizzard Over Unequal Pay, Sexual Harassment. A lawsuit filed by the state of California on Wednesday alleges sexual harassment, gender discrimination and violations of the state's equal pay law at the video game giant Activision Blizzard. NPRSuit Claims Sexual Harassment, Discrimination At Game Studio Activision Blizzard

Bungie promises 'zero-tolerance' for harassment following Activision allegations

PC Gamer 23 July, 2021 - 09:10am

The studio formerly had a publishing agreement with Activision.

The Destiny 2 developer had a ten-year publishing agreement with Activision Blizzard starting 2010, which was terminated early in 2019. Bungie hasn't had anything to do with the company since then, but it did spend eight years working with it, and so perhaps wants to set its own tone.

Bungie is built on empowering our people no matter who they are, where they are from, or how they identify.We have a responsibility to acknowledge, reflect, and do what we can to push back on a persistent culture of harassment, abuse, and inequality that exists in our industry.July 22, 2021

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Costs and poor leadership were why Blizzard’s Warcraft 3 reboot bombed

Rock Paper Shotgun 23 July, 2021 - 06:16am

Warcraft 3: Reforged was a highly anticipated remake of Blizzard’s classic RTS. Fans were promised upgraded graphics, and new voice-overs and cut-scenes that would align the game with World of Warcraft's more extensive lore. A modern version that kept their classic game so close to its heart that previous mods would work with it. What was released missed so many of those promised additions, and even cut some of the title’s original elements, that Blizzard were compelled to offer up refunds.

According to a report by Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier, “Mismanagement and financial pressures” were the reasons behind the botched remake. Tension between Blizzard’s vision and Activision’s backing left the project neither a remaster nor a remake, and the results were embarrassing.

Bloomberg’s report alleges that Classic Games, the internal studio who began the project, had started work on Reforged’s new voice-overs in 2017. As development progresssed, the relatively small team realised their grand promises were going to be tough to deliver with their current size and budget. According to Schreier: “Remastering Warcraft III was more complicated than their previous remake, StarCraft, thanks to its three-dimensional models. The team was small, the production was disorganized and the amount of work in front of them was daunting. It had taken months to revamp one of Warcraft III’s levels; now they would have to do the same for dozens more.”

With Activision focussing on larger titles, such as Overwatch 2, and laying off 800 of its workforce in 2019, Classic Games would never receive the full support required to recapture Warcraft 3. Nevertheless, they plowed on, and even started taking pre-orders for the game. That left the team committed to releasing the title. A Blizzard spokesman told Bloomberg: “In hindsight, we should have taken more time to get it right, even if it meant returning pre-orders.”

Despite getting help from other Blizzard departments during the final development push, it was too late. The game was so poorly received that demands for refunds were upheld. Even now, 18 months on, the game is missing much of the promised content that it was sold on.

Just about the only positive in all this is that it has meant that Activision Blizzard are taking a more careful approach with the upcoming Diablo 2: Resurrected. They’re aiming for a “pure remaster” of the title, which is being handled by some of the Diablo 4 team and Vicarious Visions. Classic Games have since been disbanded.

This is the second report this week to shed a poor light on Activision Blizzard. Just yesterday, the State of California filed a lawsuit against the company, alleging it's has a workplace culture that's "a breeding ground for harassment and discrimination against women". Blizzard have denied these allegations.

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Bungie: Games Industry Must 'Push Back On a Persistent Culture Of Harassment' - IGN

IGN 22 July, 2021 - 06:22pm

“Bungie is built on empowering our people no matter who they are, where they are from, or how they identify,” Bungie’s statement begins. The six-tweet thread reaffirms Bungie’s zero-tolerance policy against discrimination and its commitment to rooting out toxic culture.

The statement also acknowledges a need to reflect on the endemic problems within the games industry. “We don’t pretend that Bungie is perfect and that no one has experienced harassment while working here,” Bungie writes. “But we will not tolerate it and will confront it head one. And we will continue to do the work every day to be better.”

Bungie says that "the accounts in this week's news are difficult to read," but the company hopes it will "lead to justice, awareness, and accountability." Bungie's statement is one of the few company statements that have come out since yesterday’s bombshell lawsuit.

California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing filed a lawsuit against Activision Blizzard this week in the Los Angeles Superior Court. Following a two-year investigation, the DFEH found Activision Blizzard discriminated against female employees at nearly all levels of employment in regards to compensation, promotion, assignments, and terminations.

The DFEH’s report says, Activision Blizzard assigned women and women of color to “lower paid and lower opportunity levels” and with salaries lower than their male counterparts for the same work. Activision Blizzard rebuked the DFEH's report and you can read the company's full statement in our report.

Bungie was previously partnered with Activision for eight years with the two companies working together on Bungie’s flagship franchise Destiny. In 2019, Bungie and Activision parted ways and Bungie assumed full publishing and development responsibilities on the Destiny franchise.

Bungie concluded its Twitter statement by writing, “Our goal is to continue to improve the experience for everyone working at Bungie and do our part to make the gaming industry as a whole to be more welcoming and inclusive.”

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