Blizzard/Activation being hit by the Perfect Storm. Will they survive?

Armenius

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Wanted to chime in here with some secondhand experiences that I've heard. Disclaimer being that I don't know details and I have never worked at any game studio or Activision / Blizzard specifically.

I used to be active in the game jam scene and met a few developers who worked in some capacity professionally. Of those, I heard generally bad comments about the work environment (staff treated like shit, expendable, crunch , etc) regarding AAA publishers and specifically Activision, EA, and Bethesda. The staff being treated badly by management / treated as expendable could probably be construed as bullying - I suppose it depends on your definition. Also knew a guy who worked as a mid tier manager for playtesting and QA at Activision Blizzard. It did sound like a "toxic" environment or whatever you want to call it - the way he described, it was thankless, lots of turnover for the folks doing real work, crunch, groups/leaders controlling their own little fiefdoms within larger teams, a lot of "high school"-type of BS with poor oversight.

I say innocent until proven guilty in all things, but I have no problem believing most of these accusations could have happened given what I've heard. I haven't talked to the Activision Blizzard guy in years, but as I understand he left (or forced out / fired?) around 2016 after being involved with COD infinite and some sort of internal drama around not hitting whatever arbitrary sales figures it was supposed to.
Sounds like your typical game dev studio.
 

Furious Nerd

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I was fired from my last seasonal federal job 3 months in for literally scrolling through my personal phone photo gallery at a lunch break just a couple weeks in when a female co worker saw a topless selfie of me at the gym (once a month 'keep a growth journal' photo) as I was scrolling through to choose a meme to send a friend. She said what's that? I said what it was opened it, she complimented me, I said thanks and left it at that because she was literally a lesbian in a relationship and didn't personally want her as a friend anyway, and 2 days later I get called in by management for a sexual harassment investigation. That I showed an inappropriate and sexual photo of myself to a coworker

I explained how it wasn't exactly that or the intention.

2 months later, I get called in, investigation finished, they have to let me go for showing this inapporpiate and of sexual nature photo to this woman co worker.

Some of this P.C crap today is BS and things can get really stretched out of proportion. Not saying all is lies. But shit can get really twisted when it comes to harasssing women these days. They really crack down and twist this shit hard sometimes.
 
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Shoganai

[H]ard|Gawd
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I was fired from my last seasonal federal job 3 months in for literally scrolling through my personal phone photo gallery at a lunch break just a couple weeks in when a female co worker saw a topless selfie of me at the gym (once a month 'keep a growth journal' photo) as I was scrolling through to choose a meme to send a friend. She said what's that? I said what it was opened it, she complimented me, I said thanks and left it at that because she was literally a lesbian in a relationship and didn't personally want her as a friend anyway, and 2 days later I get called in by management for a sexual harassment investigation. That I showed an inappropriate and sexual photo of myself to a coworker

I explained how it wasn't exactly that or the intention.

2 months later, I get called in, investigation finished, they have to let me go for showing this inapporpiate and of sexual nature photo to this woman co worker.

Some of this P.C crap today is BS and things can get really stretched out of proportion. Not saying all is lies. But shit can get really twisted when it comes to harasssing women these days. They really crack down and twist this shit hard sometimes.
People are epic morons. I'm sorry to hear that.
 

Jonnycat99

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She said what's that? I said what it was opened it, she complimented me, I said thanks and left it at that

She was not only being nosy, but then she baited you into showing it to her so she could complain about it. That is completely fucked up beyond measure, and you were screwed out of your job by a sociopath. Did you contact a lawyer to see if you could fight it?
 

travm

[H]ard|Gawd
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Messages
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I was fired from my last seasonal federal job 3 months in for literally scrolling through my personal phone photo gallery at a lunch break just a couple weeks in when a female co worker saw a topless selfie of me at the gym (once a month 'keep a growth journal' photo) as I was scrolling through to choose a meme to send a friend. She said what's that? I said what it was opened it, she complimented me, I said thanks and left it at that because she was literally a lesbian in a relationship and didn't personally want her as a friend anyway, and 2 days later I get called in by management for a sexual harassment investigation. That I showed an inappropriate and sexual photo of myself to a coworker

I explained how it wasn't exactly that or the intention.

2 months later, I get called in, investigation finished, they have to let me go for showing this inapporpiate and of sexual nature photo to this woman co worker.

Some of this P.C crap today is BS and things can get really stretched out of proportion. Not saying all is lies. But shit can get really twisted when it comes to harasssing women these days. They really crack down and twist this shit hard sometimes.
I had to conduct an investigation once on three allegations;
1. People were moving the forklift seat back and making it unsafe for her to drive the fork lift, purposefully to be a pain in her ass (she was very short, and didn't have "her own forklift". Other people had to use the forklift.)
2. Someone put a creamy substance on her safety glasses that never left her coverall pockets.
3. Someone was following her around and locking the doors behind her so she couldn't get back into the building the way she came.

This person was screaming mad, literally screaming. It was harassment, and sexism, and "insert other ridiculous statement here, she likely made it"

1. Tall people had to move the seat, its not expected that they guess where she wants the seat.
2. The same pocket of her coveralls literally had a melted lip chap stick in it.
3. Our building had doors that needed to be "locked open" in order to allow people to walk back through the door. They typically weren't "unlocked" until some time after shift start.

These results were not acceptable, however they were documented and she was fired.
Having been through that I can see how easy it would be to simply believe the allegations rather than do a proper investigation, because its easier, and frankly when this happens, 1 person is getting fired. period.
 

CrimsonKnight13

Lord Stabington of [H]ard|Fortress
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Messages
7,890
I was fired from my last seasonal federal job 3 months in for literally scrolling through my personal phone photo gallery at a lunch break just a couple weeks in when a female co worker saw a topless selfie of me at the gym (once a month 'keep a growth journal' photo) as I was scrolling through to choose a meme to send a friend. She said what's that? I said what it was opened it, she complimented me, I said thanks and left it at that because she was literally a lesbian in a relationship and didn't personally want her as a friend anyway, and 2 days later I get called in by management for a sexual harassment investigation. That I showed an inappropriate and sexual photo of myself to a coworker

I explained how it wasn't exactly that or the intention.

2 months later, I get called in, investigation finished, they have to let me go for showing this inapporpiate and of sexual nature photo to this woman co worker.

Some of this P.C crap today is BS and things can get really stretched out of proportion. Not saying all is lies. But shit can get really twisted when it comes to harasssing women these days. They really crack down and twist this shit hard sometimes.
Within the probation period? They definitely targeted you.
 

Armenius

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Joined
Jan 28, 2014
Messages
28,066
I was fired from my last seasonal federal job 3 months in for literally scrolling through my personal phone photo gallery at a lunch break just a couple weeks in when a female co worker saw a topless selfie of me at the gym (once a month 'keep a growth journal' photo) as I was scrolling through to choose a meme to send a friend. She said what's that? I said what it was opened it, she complimented me, I said thanks and left it at that because she was literally a lesbian in a relationship and didn't personally want her as a friend anyway, and 2 days later I get called in by management for a sexual harassment investigation. That I showed an inappropriate and sexual photo of myself to a coworker

I explained how it wasn't exactly that or the intention.

2 months later, I get called in, investigation finished, they have to let me go for showing this inapporpiate and of sexual nature photo to this woman co worker.

Some of this P.C crap today is BS and things can get really stretched out of proportion. Not saying all is lies. But shit can get really twisted when it comes to harasssing women these days. They really crack down and twist this shit hard sometimes.
And this why men are more and more deciding to avoid women at all cost in the workplace. Any unintentional slight these days can be used to start a harassment campaign against you to destroy your life.
 

Opus131

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Messages
285
The issue is this "believe women" crap, another example of why innocent until proven guilty ought to apply in all walks of life.

It would also help if it was a little harder for companies to just fire people on a whim because it is easier to get rid of an accused indivial rather than attempt to actually verify a claim but i feel at this point the rights of workers in this industry are a thing of the past. Compared to a lot of other industries, game developers were already treated like garbage, Cyberpunk being the latest case. Nobody cared for all those years and nobody is going to care any time in the future by the looks of it.
 

Wiz33

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I'm sure there are some crying wolf and over-reaction (but then one person's good taste could be interpreted differently by other people) but when enough incidents attract a state interest. which started 2 years ago and I'm sure the lawsuit was a last resort after many attempts to get things settled.

That said. I did buy D2R yesterday as most of their employee should not be panelized for the actions of a few. But Blizzard may not survive anyway as the latest number for WOW looks pretty sad but that's not really related to the lawsuit but I'm sure the lawsuit is a catalyst for a lot of long frustrated players to exit the game for good after years of disappointment and arrogant dev behavior and they have no one to blame for that than themselves.
 

t1337duder

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Normally I don't care for the "believe all women" mindset.

But I know the people at Blizzard do. With that in mind - what goes around, comes around. I hope some dissatisfied employees of color come forward, too. With all of their weird WoW patching, they're clearly compensating for something.
 

Nytegard

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Sounds like your typical game dev studio.
It's not even the worst from what I've seen in a few places I've worked, non game related. What most of this sounds like is just corporate culture. If people are dying to work at a place, expect the hours to be terrible and the backstabbing to be high along with the exploitation. Sure, not every corporation or company is like this, but I would say it's not to be unexpected.

When it comes down to the sexual harassment, I'm sure a lot of it is truthful. Every industry has problematic people. And I would guess that when you're in a desired company that has "rock stars", yeah, I can see some people definitely abusing their position. On the other hand, stuff like women not being promoted or being paid less I would wait until after the investigation. Too often I've read news stories about companies being sued for gender discrimination, only to find out after an audit that it turns out that men were being underpaid far more than women. Google and the BBC just to name a couple of the bigger ones in the past few years. When it comes to stuff like that, there always seems to be this tendency of the women looking only at the top employees, while ignoring the vast quantity of plebs at the bottom who are going nowhere.
And this why men are more and more deciding to avoid women at all cost in the workplace. Any unintentional slight these days can be used to start a harassment campaign against you to destroy your life.
Jordan Peterson made a statement a few years back where he was unsure of whether the social experiment of women working alongside men could work. That in the grand scheme of things, it's only a recent phenomena (within the past 100 years or so), and we really don't have long term data on whether or not it can be beneficial. What we do know is that unhappiness, depression and anxiety are up in both men and women over the past few decades as things have become more "equal".

But a lot of this is more Soapbox material than a general gaming material response.
 

Zangmonkey

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https://investor.activision.com/new...zard-hires-senior-executives-disney-and-delta

More inclusivity? That's asking for major trouble & is the death knell for anything from the old Blizzard. Sadly, there was a strong lack of the good stuff when this round of issues hit.
What's not clearly mentioned in that statement is that this comes with the departure of previous CPO Claudine Naughton. Imo she was one of the first people that should have had the hammer drop on them but, in typical c-level fashion, ended up being one of the last.

She never seemed to really understand or even take an interest in the people-managment problems between the studios and imho things degraded severely during her tenure.
 

CrimsonKnight13

Lord Stabington of [H]ard|Fortress
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What's not clearly mentioned in that statement is that this comes with the departure of previous CPO Claudine Naughton. Imo she was one of the first people that should have had the hammer drop on them but, in typical c-level fashion, ended up being one of the last.

She never seemed to really understand or even take an interest in the people-managment problems between the studios and imho things degraded severely during her tenure.
When management ignores personnel problems, that's definitely when you start seeing mass attrition & legal issues.
 

MavericK

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The "old" Blizzard died a long, long time ago - it's basically been Activision for years now.
 

DPI

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The first order of business is we're taking the doors off all the offices and nothing happens behind closed doors anymore.

The second order of business is you're fired.

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