Jun 24, 2022 - Technology

Game studios publicly criticize Roe v. Wade ruling

Screenshot: Twitter

Several major game studios and the largest organization for international game developers explicitly or implicitly criticized today’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling removing federal protections for abortion in America.

Why it matters: The games industry is showing an increasing willingness to make political statements — and deal with the pros and cons of taking a stand.

Details: “We believe that bodily autonomy and reproductive freedom are fundamental human rights,” read a tweet today from Sony PlayStation’s Santa Monica Studio, which is working on the expected blockbuster God of War: Ragnarök.

  • “Reproductive freedom and bodily autonomy are human rights,” read another, from Sony-owned, Burbank-headquartered Insomniac Games, which has made PlayStation’s flagship Spider-Man games.
  • “Today and every day, we believe that reproductive rights are human rights,” began a tweet from Paris-headquartered mega-publisher Ubisoft, which has large teams of employees in California and North Carolina.
  • The International Game Developers Association said it “condemns the decision.”

Between the lines: The statements echoed and amplified those shared by some game studios in May, when a draft of the court’s opinion leaked.

  • “We remain undeterred in our commitment to stand up for reproductive choice and liberty,” Bungie, which was vocal last month, stated today.

Victors muted: Any celebration of today’s decision among industry players was not visible during Axios’ initial sweep of online reactions.

The big picture: Today’s statements may not immediately and directly affect the games people play, but they are intended to help the people making those games.

  • The Sony Santa Monica statement, for example, vows to “support our team members in receiving access to the care they need.”
  • Bungie’s statement was coupled with a commitment to reimburse employees who need to go out of state for “essential health care needs.”
  • “We are taking this step to ensure our employees in states immediately affected by this decision remain covered,” a Bungie rep told Axios. “We will continue to monitor legislation in other states and take further steps as needed.”

The bottom line: Such comments make clear that the policy of these studios is to support access to abortion.

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