Blizzard Entertainment, the developer of great franchises like Diablo Y Supervision, has been under intense scrutiny since California sued parent company Activision Blizzard last summer for allegedly fostering a culture of harassment and discrimination. In an attempt to reassure employees and fans that the company is making positive changes, Blizzard boss Mike Ybarra published a blog post detailing what you’re doing to “rebuild your confidence.”
At the top of the list is that executive and management teams will be measured “directly against culture improvement,” meaning that their compensation will “depend on our overall success in creating a safe, inclusive, and secure work environment.” creative at Blizzard,” Ybarra said. He says.
He also outlined new full-time roles that have been created to help improve the culture, including:
a cultural leader who will help us maintain the best aspects of what we have today, and change and evolve where necessary to ensure that everyone brings their best to Blizzard
a new HR organizational leader who will build trust, empower our teams and help foster a safe and positive work environment for all
a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I) leader focused solely on our progress through multiple efforts in this area
Blizzard also “tripled” the size of its compliance and investigation teams, shared rep data internally (not included in the blog post), set goals to improve those metrics (also not shared), and created a “rep program.” upward feedback. that employees evaluate managers, Ybarra said.
We are committed to a more open dialogue directly with the amazing player communities, not just with me but with all of our amazing teams. https://t.co/5MUILlUCnS
—Mike Ybarra (@Qwik) January 20, 2022
Ybarra’s blog about these initiatives comes under the shadow of Microsoft’s big deal to acquire Activision Blizzard. Microsoft appears to have entered the deal with eyes wide open about the recent Activision Blizzard scandals, and Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer even nodded to the cultural changes to come in an email to staff:
We also believe that creative success and autonomy go hand in hand with treating each person with dignity and respect. We hold all teams and all leaders to this commitment. We look forward to extending our culture of proactive inclusion to the great teams at Activision Blizzard.
It’s also worth noting that Ybarra was a Microsoft veteran of nearly 20 years prior. joined Blizzard in 2019.
However, there could still be a lot of work to be done to address the concerns of Activision Blizzard employees. Ybarra was originally placed as co-leader of Blizzard alongside Jen Oneal after former president J. Allen Brack left shortly after the lawsuit, but Oneal stepped down just three months after taking office. During her time as co-director, Oneal “sent an email to a member of Activision’s legal team professing a lack of faith in Activision’s leadership to change the culture,” according to a report. Wall Street Journal november report.
Further, several dozen Workers have been on strike for weeks to protest unexpected firings of QA staff at Raven Software. And how Kotaku reporter Ethan Gach señaló, Ybarra’s blog does not respond to the demands of the ABK Workers Alliance, an employee advocacy group. That said, some Activision Blizzard employees are optimistic about the Microsoft acquisition, according to Bloomberg.
Ybarra also tacitly acknowledged Blizzard’s lack of recent big releases, a problem that was compounded after surveillance 2 Y Diablo IV were pushed back to November with no release dates in sight, but it looks like we could learn more about the studio’s games next week. “We also know that we need to deliver content to our players on a more regular basis and innovate both in our existing games and beyond,” said Ybarra. “We have some exciting things to announce, and will share more next week.”
Disclosure: Casey Wasserman is on the board of directors for Activision Blizzard, as well as the board of directors for Vox Media, the parent company of The Verge.