With its recent positions in the continuity of its methodical denial since the beginning of the legal case it is undergoing, the management of Activision Blizzard continues to attract the wrath of both gaming communities and trade unions and associations. of American Justice itself. However, the firm does not seem ready to evolve if we are to believe the events revealed this Tuesday, June 21, 2022 by the Washington Post .
A promising request
It was following a request from the Comptroller of the State of New York , Thomas DiNapoli, made during an annual meeting held on Tuesday, June 14, 2022 that the shareholders of Activision Blizzard tried to show their credentials. This required the company to publicly report on organized efforts to put an end to workplace discrimination and harassment . This proposal, which had already been formulated for the first time last February, asked Activision Blizzard to share any information that would make it possible to account for the efforts it is providing , in particular concerning the remuneration of its employees , the total number of settlement cases sexual harassment cases processed and closed , but also those still pending , and of course the progress made to enable a quick and effective resolution of complaints of harassment and abuse .
DiNapoli's request was approved by a majority of the firm's board of directors , but The Washington Post points out that a minority of them including Robert "Bobby" Kotick (current CEO), Brian Kelly and Robert Morgado voted against it, without too much surprise since it is the position adopted since the beginning of the affair. The shareholders also approved by 88%, ie a very large majority, the compensation proposed for the company's directors.
Thomas DiNapoli then praised the cooperation of Activision Blizzard shareholders:
The lure of shareholders
If everything suggested that concrete and impactful actions would be implemented soon, Activision Blizzard has decided otherwise . On Thursday, June 16, 2022, two days after the aforementioned annual meeting, the company released a statement stating that after an internal investigation it had found " no evidence to suggest that Activision Blizzard senior executives ever intentionally ignored or attempted to minimize instances of gender-based harassment that have occurred and been reported .” Investigators also reportedly found no evidence that a senior executive or employee withheld information about it from the company's board. The report, however, specified that "certain proven cases of gender harassment" existed but fully exonerated the management and the board of directors of Activision Blizzard.
In the aftermath, a proposal to appoint a representative of the company's employees directly supported by the newly created and recognized Games Worker Alliance union was rejected by the firm's shareholders . Only 5% of them voted For even though a recording of an employee was broadcast during the meeting on Tuesday, June 14, stipulating in particular that this representative should be democratically elected by non-executives of Activision Blizzard . The objective of this representative would have been to make the board of directors aware of the concerns of the company's employees . The shareholders would not have finally answered any questions, and the meeting would have ended after about twenty minutes at most.
Joost Van Dreunen, a lecturer on gaming business at New York University's Stern School of Business later commented on his perplexity about the firm's real intentions:
For him, the categorical refusal to integrate an employee on the board of directors would largely reveal that Activision Blizzard is absolutely not ready to implement real structural changes . Moreover, he believes that the only chance for the company to solve the endemic problems within it would be its acquisition by Microsoft , which has already announced a neutrality agreement at work and its will not to hinder the unionization of its employees.
Thus, despite the start of negotiations by Activision Blizzard with the Game Workers Alliance formed by Raven Software a few weeks earlier this Friday, June 17, 2022 , the situation would still be quite far from being settled since the board of directors would only propose straw men as fake short-term solutions to cover up the affair.
Like Blizzard and Nintendo, Sony has announced that it will not be participating in Gamescom 2022. Can we still expect announcements before the end of the summer?