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Diablo II, Blizzard Entertainment, Activision Blizzard Worst Company Ever: Activision Blizzard – Inside Games

Ah yep, you heard it here here. First folks, company thats being sued by both the state of california and the u.s federal government is bad thats. An easy conclusion. Uh i dont know how we keep up this bravery every single week, but here we are lawrence. Were the bravest someones got a call like it is bruce two white dudes and black shirts were the bravest, hey speaking of brave white dudes, its pretty astounding that activision blizzard can keep all this up too right. Jesus christ youre not wrong its just gon na be like this. From now on, i think um. They are at the point where their sexual harassment lawsuits are interfering with their other sexual harassment, lawsuits now, thats, just ridiculous and insane and terrible by the way and thats. According to the california department of fair employment and housing, or the dfeh who filed a motion this week, claiming that the pending settlement between activision blizzard and the united states equal employment opportunity, commission thats, the federal level stands to destroy the very evidence that the dfeh needs To prosecute its case, okay, all right, so to put it another way, activision blizzard is allegedly using the settlement terms of one lawsuit to destroy relevant evidence in another lawsuit. I didnt know you could do that. I didnt i can you that sounds illegal to me. Im always fascinated – and this is just like this – is how people get ahead in business as they are always looking for an angle.

I would think im this kind of idiot, where, if i get sued by the u.s federal government im like well boys im sorry, the sexual harassment was fun, but i guess its over now. We got to stop it. No theyre like what, if we use this, to delete all the other sexual harassment, we did its pretty smart or its. You know pretty evil. If you have a functioning conscience, which apparently those lawyers do not uh kotaku reported the filing on october 7th, which occurred in response to the aforementioned settlement between activision blizzard and the us eeoc or the federal government, which you know itself, was honestly kind of surprised, because We only recently learned that the state of california was suing activision blizzard just a few months ago. Yeah, it turns out the u.s federal government was investigating them this whole time too, oh wow, starting in 2018, to be specific. They just kept it more quiet. Oh all right well, good for them actually uh and just like the state of california, the eeoc found enough evidence in their investigation to press charges which they did on september 27 2021 filed in california state us eeoc versus activision blizzard accuses the company of knowingly participating In sexual harassment against women and failing to take any remedy once employees complained also just like the state of california suit, probably activision blizzard announced almost immediately after the lawsuit becoming public knowledge that theyve reached a settlement like the same day immediately right yeah.

It was right away uh. Also, on september 27th, activision blizzard announced that theyve reached a settlement with the eeoc, which amounts to an 18 million dollar fund to compensate and make amends to eligible claimants, wow 18 million thats more than 17.. I mean it sounds like a lot of money. Is it, though, no its not its, really not yeah uh, so just to put it in compare heres, some fun numbers sure i love fun numbers. I really do activision ceo bobby kodak uh. He got voted a 155 million dollar compensation package bonus that was approved by activision stockholders in june. Wait wait just for just for the ceo yeah, the bonus just for this year or last year, technically 155 million its a compensation package bruce its not all money. Some of its stocks, Music and activision blizzards latest fiscal quarter – yielded 2.29 million billion billion, oh 2.29 billion in revenue, yeah, 18 million out of 2.29 billion whats the percentage there, its real tiny yeah, its pretty small, comparatively uh the entire fund. All of it set aside to pay out every harassed employee, since the companys founding is 11 of the ceos bonus for a single year, okay, its also 0.7 of a single quarter of the companys operating revenue right in the quarters three months um. Unfortunately, this is the cold hard math of how work is done in america, exploit workers pocket the money and settle for pennies on the dollar decades down the road like ive said yeah over and over and over.

You were part of this beautiful cycle, yeah the most american of all of us, and apparently the american ways, also to use that settlement to weasel out of other lawsuits, which i, this guy. This has to be illegal uh. The u.s federal government might be fine with this teeny slap on the wrist, but the california department of fare employment. Housing still wants a piece of the action uh, absolutely good for them. They should yeah, please god, so they jumped in to slow everything down this week. Noting that a condition of the settlement between activision blizzard and the us eeoc would allow blizzard to quote remove from the personnel files of each eligible claimant, any references to the allegations related to sexual harassment, pregnancy discrimination and or related retaliation thats. All i can say to that uh. So basically, if activision blizzard pays you off, they get to erase the record that you ever complained about sexual harassment in the first place, so they can turn around to the california dfeh and show well theres, no record of sexual harassment happening look at the books. What do the books say geez, so the order does stipulate that activision blizzard has to maintain their records quote in order to effectuate this decree. Okay, though it suspiciously and likely intentionally, doesnt mention any other decree or legal action. So you know all right: uh, the california dfvh moved pretty fast on this one too. According to the filing, the dfch met with both activision blizzard and the eeoc on october 5th, just a week and a day after the lawsuit and settlement were publicly announced.

Apparently, the dfvh would normally have to wait seven days from this meeting to file an intervention, but they jumped the weight and filed the motion ex party due to the potential harm this settlement would have on their lawsuit, yep and thats thats. Where were at now, okay state of california is trying to intervene in a hushed settlement between activision blizzard and the us federal government all over their reoccurring. Sexual harassment of women, yikes theres, a big old thats, a big old yikes all the way around and and we dont we – i dont – want to minimize this by the way. But when we say big old yikes were kind of joking around about it im not going to minimize this. This is terrible for the company, its terrible for all the people that had to go through it, uh its trash so and thats. Why? I was saying start cutting heads about a few months ago and i dont know if theyve done it yeah realistically its hard to imagine that happening when you, when the people who did the thing are also responsible for punishing the people. Who did the thing turns out? They just look in the mirror and say everythings fine. So if we, if we sound cynical towards activision blizzard in this report, well its because activision blizzard has shown a legacy of underhanded legal tactics in the months leading up to this yeah and and to kind of piggyback off what you were saying were talking about the Story from a business perspective, how activision blizzard is treating it um, yeah, theres theres, certainly a human factor there that were not acknowledging and all of this, so yeah.

The way were talking about it, its cynical its its kind of irreverent were kind of over companies. Acting. This way and thats how were choosing to uh express ourselves, but certainly having been a part of that as bruce, has personally yeah absolutely uh. We certainly empathize with people who are trapped in the middle of it, but yeah. As you know, two white dudes we cant thats, not our place to talk about. I guess, right and and honestly i think we did a lot of the we reported on the human factor months ago when this first broke uh. So you should absolutely go back and watch that show too, because thats, i think we were a lot more disgusted and just we again just like have some empathy for your fellow man. Hopefully, by this point, the people who are most affected have found some amount of vindication and, and most importantly, have maybe taken a month off. Yes, collect collect some nice paychecks play some world of warcraft on the clock. So, a little over a month ago, the dfeh accused activision blizzard going to unsavory links to destroy or deny access to potentially incriminating material, which we reported on uh, going so far as to shred paper evidence and delete emails. They were legally required to maintain good stuff. Yeah one of uh activision blizzards sneakiest moves, and this is wild, and this is according to the dfehs filings – was to use lawyers in their internal audits and investigations, and that includes the hiring of the law.

Firm wilmer hale. Once the dfeh lawsuit went public, they announced it like immediately yeah thats right, activision blizzard claimed that since the related parties talked to lawyers during their investigations, of course, as they were directed to that all information found in that internal investigation is confidential under client attorney privilege, Meaning they dont have to turn it over to state investigators which they do, but all they have to do is say they dont and then they dont and then three years down the line. The dfeh is saying like hey, yeah and thats, it thats thats. Basically, it so yeah, so not only is activision blizzard, destroying and suppressing evidence, but theyre also angling, on their pitifully small federal settlement to eliminate a lions share of the actual evidence of their wrongdoing. Thats right so other regulatory bodies – cant come after them as well, allegedly sure, allegedly, you got ta, throw that one in uh yeah we got ta, be responsible. Reporters here remind everyone. These are just allegations yeah uh, but for real theres, no way to cut announcing a tiny ass settlement on the same day, a lawsuit just filed as anything other than corporate maneuvering and thats. All this is yeah at best uh thats thats, pretty scummy anyway yeah. So if theres any doubt yeah activation blizzard, theyre theyre corporation and theyre theyre in carpool sleaze mode, it happens to them all uh. Really it does it does. It does, and if anybody thinks that it doesnt happen to every single corporation, that we experience on a daily basis, it does im sorry there doesnt really seem to be any huge consequences for them.

At the moment, though, aside from loads of bad pr, uh, which weve been part of yeah uh, while all this goes on, the revenues are actually up year over year, uh, their stock price hasnt shifted really as a result, either activision blizzard is currently trading at 77. At the time of writing compared to 77, exactly one year ago now, theyve theyve had a big rise and fall in the in the year since yeah they did yeah but thats not tied to any of these lawsuits. All of those dates of the huge jumps or drops those are kind of just other market factors, its generally market movement, um and thats around the same time, thats what happens usually around this time. Every year stocks go down uh likely, because investors understand how this story goes. A lawsuit just means that there will be a laughably small settlement like we talked about either immediately or a few years down the line yeah. I think the real story here, the one that we cant see – and this is kind of what we were talking about earlier – activision blizzards – probably suffering a lot harder in staffing and recruitment. Right now, uh, there have already been a series of very high level departures at the company since the lawsuit started, falling like rain uh, including former president j, alan brack, former diablo for game director, luis barriga and overwatch executive producer, chako sunny who themselves were an interim Replacement for former overwatch 2 game director jeff kaplan right who left back in april, i uh im not going to speculate.

Maybe, though, maybe kaplan knew a little bit about im, probably yeah. Those are just the higher profile. Departures blizzard has to actually say something about. You can bet countless other employees have had enough just quit for good uh legions of producers, artists, coders, audio engineers, you name it anyone that remembers how games are made there, how to use back end systems, how to update the ticket tracking all that stuff just evaporated In a manner of months, uh, im sure thats happened and ive seen it on twitter, im, sure, yeah and its especially damaging. I feel like at a company like blizzard, entertainment thats been around for so long. They probably have internal tools that were made in like 2004. That stan knows how to use yeah and stan just quit and like no one else, really thought about it and now its a week later and stans, not there anymore, and no one knows how to do this thing so that that can have real rip. Ricocheting costs and it starts happening at every department at every level, once people just start falling out, thats right its gon na be rough uh. Its not like blizzard can just go out and rehire those roles either like lawrence was just talking about not with this non stop parade of negative headlines either just telling the world just how soulless this company is uh to work. For i mean if i was seeing this about my own company again, i know it exists for every company but seeing it in the wild in the in the public thats enough for me to be like, i got, ta find another job, yeah like as soon as Possible or if youre hunting for a job to just not even take an interview from a company like that yeah thats, true, they were pretty notorious for underpaying too, just because they were blizzard and people wanted to work there.

They cant do that anymore. So, on a baseline, they have to like start matching or overpaying people to work there and thats going to cut into their profits absolutely see. Ultimately, games are multi year projects. They rely on the accumulated experience of everyone involved to proceed smoothly. We can assume – i think, pretty safely at this point, that overwatch 2 and diablo 4 have already experienced a ton of developer churns since all of this broke out, which will likely maybe delay their well, i mean pretty definitely delay their releases and impact their quality. Yep. Now, to disclose again were not saying that it should be any other way. No, no, no yeah! This is a well earned. Yeah well earned by the people. Take all the delays, its a human factor, yeah again talking about it from the business side of things. This is whats eventually going to impact their bottom line and eventually make investors care and thats eventually make executives care, thats right, thats kind of the tracking trying to do here. Yeah and blizzard, of course, has a new problem to worry about with the breakout success of amazon games new world yeah, which is a good video game. By the way it is yeah its really fun. So this is one of the like. Once companies have safe revenue thats when things start to go a little weird, so thats. What happened? Yeah world of warcraft has been blizzard entertainments monetary lifeline, its just bucket loads of money every month and they dont like they have to make expansions maintenance stuff like that.

But yeah but theyre not as beholden to releasing new products to bring in revenue, so theyve been able to not ship new titles for years and still bring in lots of revenue and look really healthy. So now theyre in a position of not really being able to ship a new game because of what lawrence just talked about. They cant really hire people to get their production back on track because of what we just talked about, and competitors like new world and final fantasy 14 are threatening to steal their cash cow or probably are right now yeah. Maybe i its tough, because blizzard stopped saying how many subscribers they have, probably because its going down yeah, but that makes it really hard to compare. Who knows. I i saw new world was getting close to a million concurrent players on steam, yeah, which is awesome, but who knows how that actually stacks up to world of warcrafts current subscriber base good point world of warcraft could have like 30 million yeah uh monthly subs. We dont know so wow geez. They do have one thing going for them, though: ports yay, yeah thats, i mean they. They just released diablo 2 resurrected, thats good, which was technically made by another studios, vicarious yeah, which is now blizzard so yeah blizzard has a pretty deep catalog of well loved games that they can farm out for the remaster treatments uh, which can give them annual releases For a few years, yet, while hopefully they get their internal staffing issues sorted out and maybe kick all the sexual harassers, i mean if they havent already done that, what the are they doing.

You know like get rid of the people that were problems its not hard here uh, so in all likelihood, blizzards going the way of bioware paralyzed by staff, departures and employee mistreatment, dropping a series of remakes remasters, while it tries to find its footing again uh. I just like anywhere else. I always hope that blizzard or bioware – or anybody else reaches the same heights that they were at. I really do uh and i uh without the toxicity, its a terrible work. Environment, yeah its its tough and and another thing to keep in mind is its just a name at this point. Uh like whos, even left at blizzard that founded it or had worked there. 10 years ago, so you know, i can understand, being attached to a name and a brand and an experience, but unfortunately its like will they come back no theyre already dead, but another crew might come in with some cool ideas, iterate on whats there and give us Like a the next generation kind of thing, yeah so thats, i think what whats worth hoping for and certainly for all the people who are you know, have families and lives and they cant just quit and move somewhere and uproot their entire existence for that thats right. Yeah im always hoping for the most constructive outcome: yep bottom line. We really just pull for the people there uh that are working their butts off, um and just doing doing good work being good people uh at blizzard and thats.

One of the reasons that we played diabolos because we wanted to support the good people there, uh and i just begging the leadership over at blizzard to just get rid of the its not hard its really not hard.

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