By now you can probably write a book about all that happened during the Blizzard lawsuit. And I’m fairly sure most of you know the basic outline of what happened. But on the off chance some of you do not, here is a brief recap.
On July 20, 2021, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing filed a lawsuit against Blizzard after years of thorough investigation. The investigation revealed a toxic “frat boy” culture in their workplace. A culture that encouraged sexual harassment, and other equally disgusting behaviors towards women.
Since filing the lawsuit, the fallout has been massive. Between key talent being fired, or just leaving. More and more stories of abuse just kept on piling on. The stocks of ActivisionBlizzard also took a hit, and they have been down 15% since July. Many fans chose to boycott Blizzard products, and even protests outside their offices took place.
The Latest Chapter In Blizzard Lawsuit Saga
This brings us to yesterday’s news. Because it turns out Diablo IV, and Overwatch 2 have been delayed. This is especially funny because those games did not have a set release date to begin with. But Activision decided to postpone both titles to sometime after 2022. No doubt the development of these titles has been affected by key talent quitting the company. Or being fired after severe allegations of sexual harassment surfaced.
One could argue that delaying those titles so far back could be an attempt to distance them from this whole fiasco. As the sales of anything Blizzard-related will suffer until the coverage of this story dies down. And to be fair, I completely understand. If a male employee of my company tried to force a female employee to have sex with him, which ended in the suicide of said female employee, I would also want to distance my company from such a reputation. And all this while other employees are trading illicit photos of said female employee.
Jen Oneal, Co-leader of The Company, Steps Down
And to top it all off. Jen Oneal is stepping down as co-leader of Blizzard, effective immediately. Then at the end of the year, she will depart ActivisionBlizzard to seek new opportunities. “I am doing this not because I am without hope for Blizzard, quite the opposite–I’m inspired by the passion of everyone here[…]This energy has inspired me to step out and explore how I can do more to have games and diversity intersect, and hopefully make a broader industry impact,” writes Oneal in her message to the community.
I really do not want to be “that guy”. But this whole letter reads like she wants to leave and create more opportunities for women in gaming. Not because she was “inspired”. But because it is impossible to currently do it at Blizzard HQ. And I do not intend to put any words into the mouth of Jen. This is just my personal interpretation. Because I choose to believe that she could not hit “publish” without Blizzard lawyers breathing down her neck. It is also important to note, Oneal was hired to fill the co-leader position in August of this year. It means 2-3 months at Blizzard were enough for her.
So far Blizzard is not doing so hot after the lawsuit began. But at the same time, you reap what you sow.
If you want to read about companies that treat their employees better, I invite you to take a peek at Capcom’s latest success with Resident Evil VII. Which sold 10 million copies. You can read that story right here.