Jul 28, 2021 - Technology

After walkout, Activision Blizzard employees vow to keep fighting

Bing Guan/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Organizers of a Wednesday walkout at Activision Blizzard, the gaming company behind "Call of Duty" and "World of Warcraft," are saying the demonstration "is not a one-time event that our leaders can ignore.”

Why it matters: Within the video game industry, sweeping promises for change are often followed by a handful of half-measures that fail to solve the systematic problems that caused them.

  • In a statement shared with Axios, organizers called out a letter to employees from CEO Bobby Kotick, issued Tuesday night, in which he said that the “initial responses to the issues we face together, and to your concerns, were, quite frankly, tone deaf."
  • While organizers are pleased their collective voice has “convinced leadership to change the tone of their communications, this response fails to address critical elements at the heart of employee concerns,” the organizers' statement reads.

Organizers — who advocated four core demands at Wednesday's demonstration, including an end to mandatory arbitration and better hiring practices — say that the company has not yet addressed their demands.

  • “We expect a prompt response and a commitment to action from leadership on the points enumerated above, and look forward to maintaining a constructive dialogue on how to build a better Activision Blizzard for all employees,” their statement reads.
  • “We will not return to silence; we will not be placated by the same processes that led us to this point. This is the beginning of an enduring movement in favor of better labor conditions for all employees, especially women, in particular women of color and transgender women, nonbinary people, and other marginalized groups."

The walkout has received a groundswell of support across the video game industry, as developers and fans have used the #ActiBlizWalkout hashtag to show support.

  • Blizzard co-founder and former executive Mike Morhaime tweeted today that he stands “in virtual solidarity” with those walking out: “I promise to be part of the change.”
  • Earlier this week, Morhaime — who stepped down from Blizzard in 2018 and left the company entirely in 2019 — issued an apology on Twitter to women who have alleged harassment and discrimination at the company. “To the Blizzard women who experienced any of these things, I am extremely sorry that I failed you.”
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