STORIES THAT ENCHANT THE MIND
You’ve probably heard over the past few weeks about Activision Blizzard being sued by California's Department of Fair Employment and Housing. If you haven’t, I’ll fill you in.
It turns out that the company has been running a terrible workplace for a very long time, and their employees have finally been given a voice. It’s not an entirely surprising thing to hear, given that many mega-corporations nurture hostile working environments with terrible pay and benefits
For an old-timer gamer like myself, it isn’t something I would classify as “shocking news.” Nevertheless, it’s still regrettable when a gaming icon like Blizzard turns out to be one of the bad guys.
"Failure doesn't mean the game is over, it means try again with experience."
Feeling Conflicted about the Past
Some of my fondest gaming memories involved Blizzard titles. Running endless Starcraft: Broodwars LAN parties in musty internet cafes. Co-leading a World of Warcraft guild with my spouse. Losing entire days grinding in Diablo 2. These are all moments I cherish greatly as an old-school gamer.
Yet, when I hear that Blizzard’s workplace woes started a long time ago, I can’t help but feel some regret. There’s a sense of complicity that comes with giving such a company money. It almost feels like I was partaking in rewarding them for making games under such a terrible working culture.
All the times I cheered for the big reveals at every Blizzcon when the work actually came off the backs of developers who were treated to sexual harassment and other terrible behavior.
It’s a tough pill to swallow. Yes, I’m not the person who allowed this to happen. There was no way for me to know what was going on behind the doors of Blizzard’s Irvine-based offices. It’s hard to say if I’d grab the opportunity to take it all back, but I do know one thing for sure; Blizzard won’t see another dime from me.
Can’t Enjoy the Future
Just as the news about Activision Blizzard’s lawsuit broke, my spouse mentioned above mused about how much fun we had playing WoW back in the day. My reply was a sobering “too bad we will never go back to it.” I meant every word of it. Even with some great titles on the horizon, such as Diablo 4 and Overwatch 2, I’m not going to be picking up any more Blizzard games.
For one, my excitement for them has wholly been shattered. Games are supposed to be fun escapism, a delving into worlds where reality takes a back seat. Yet, how can I indulge when these games are not made with passion but greed and power moves at the forefront. The developers themselves are likely not to blame.
The executives at the top are uncaring and only take action when the press and public become aware. Be that as it may, there’s nothing ethical about publicly ridiculing women for wanting less sexualized characters in their video games. Business and principles can go hand-in-hand, and it’s up to Blizzard to prove to us that they can make it happen. Of course, that’s all contingent on them being able to make it through this ugly situation.
Yannis is a veteran gamer with over 25 years of experience across the spectrum of genres. He enjoys spending time with his family, livestreaming on Twitch and occasionally dishing out unsolicited dad advice. Also catch him on IG..
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