Activision Blizzard executives are promising to resolve the company's "frat boy" culture of widespread abuse and harassment (opens in new tab), according to internal emails sent to employees.
Following this week's horrifying report, Bloomberg reporter Jason Schreier obtained an email from Blizzard president J. Allen Brack reportedly sent to employees the night following the news. In it, Brack acknowledges the "extremely troubling" allegations, explaining that he plans to speak to a number of employees to discuss how the company can move forwards.
Blizzard president J. Allen Brack sent out an email to staff last night addressing the allegations from this week's explosive lawsuit, calling them "extremely troubling" and saying that he'd be "meeting with many of you to answer questions and discuss how we can move forward." pic.twitter.com/NsMV6CNdTEJuly 23, 2021
That sentiment was echoed by Activision president Rob Kostich, who described the behaviours represented in this week's report as "not reflective of our Activision company values" in similar internal emails acquired by Polygon's Nicole Carpenter.
Activision president Rob Kostich emailed employees yesterday calling the DFEH allegations "deeply disturbing," claiming that the "behaviors described are not reflective of our Activison company values." https://t.co/bVioTSOM5y pic.twitter.com/dCqQ7PSSYVJuly 23, 2021
"Let me be clear," Kostich writes. "There is zero tolerance for this type on behaviour in our workplace or, frankly, in our society."
Both those emails were confirmed by Activision. That marks something of a change on the publisher's behalf—with the company previously telling PC Gamer that it denied the accusations as "distorted, and in many cases false, descriptions of Blizzard's past", while decrying the DFEH lawsuit as being made in bad faith.
An internal email addressing the reports is to be expected, of course. But while we may even expect a more public statement from Activision Blizzard, it's hard to gauge how firm a commitment this will be to improving the situation at the company.
Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot infamously fronted last year's Ubisoft Forward showcase with a public apology for the company's similarly abusive workplace culture (opens in new tab). Despite this, a French game worker's union recently filed suit against the publisher (opens in new tab), following claims that there has been no meaningful change (opens in new tab) since allegations came to light.
This week's lawsuit was quickly followed by further reporting into Blizzard, suggesting that Warcraft 3: Reforged's botched launch (opens in new tab) boiled down to gross mismanagement and budget cuts. Given the week the studio is having, it's not surprising that it appears to have pulled the planned surprise launch (opens in new tab) of a new Overwatch map.