The video game industry was shocked on Tuesday, with Microsoft announcing that it’s acquiring publisher Activision Blizzard in a monumental deal worth nearly $70 billion. The announcement comes during an era of rapidly declining trust in Activision Blizzard, following a lawsuit and innumerable reports that the company’s culture is one of sexual harassment and misconduct, unfair treatment and pay for employees, and more. On Thursday, Blizzard Entertainment’s head, Mike Ybarra, detailed how the company is making changes to improve its culture and workplace environments.
According to Ybarra, Blizzard’s current top priority is “the work we are doing to rebuild your trust in Blizzard,” namely its efforts to protect employees and hold management responsible for any misconduct. Ybarra then went on to discuss some of the exact changes Blizzard is making, including:
- Evaluating management and leadership based on fostering an inclusive and safe work environment
- Establishing multiple full-time positions and teams dedicated to improving culture, including a Culture leader, organizational leader for HR, and a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion leader
- Expanding Blizzard’s compliance and investigation teams to establish clear rules and hold all employees accountable
- Ensuring employees have a way to submit feedback to evaluate managers and leadership
Ybarra asserted these moves are only the beginning of Blizzard’s effort in the area, and hopefully signifies a real shift in culture for the company. Still, many, including our own Jez Corden, are looking to the pending acquisition of Activision Blizzard by Microsoft to effect real change and do right by the employees. There’s undoubtedly a long road ahead of Activision Blizzard to restore itself in the eyes of the gaming community and to better care for its employees. If you want to catch up on everything that has happened, we’ve kept track of the entire Activision Blizzard lawsuit timeline and everything you need to know.
In Ybarra’s conclusion, he also mentioned how Blizzard is aware it can improve the rate at which it updates and improves its titles, as well as how it innovates on new and existing projects. While no details were shared, he then teased that exciting things are coming, starting with an announcement next week. Blizzard is currently working on several new games, including Diablo 4 and Overwatch 2, both of which strive to join the vaunted list of best Xbox games.