Activision Blizzard has really been crumbling over the last couple of years. I don’t need to recount the allegations mounted against them or the fact that they’re only being put to task because investor’s money got involved. No, this time we’re going to do something rare and talk about a good decision they made. See, one of the key problems highlighted at Activision is workplace equality. The most damning piece of evidence being Jen Oneal, who worked alongside Mike Ybarra as the co-president of Blizzard following J. Allen Brack’s departure. Shortly after being appointed, she stepped down due to her being paid less than her coworker for the exact same job. Which is to say nothing of the sexual harassment allegations she made as well. By now, I’m sure you know the rest.
What could Activision Blizzard do that’s good enough to try and counteract the lack of equality in the workplace? Start by hiring people who fit into the image you want to project. On April 11th, the news broke that Kristen Hines (a black woman) was appointed as Activision Blizzard‘s Chief Diversity, Equity, & Inclusions Officer. Her job as the Chief DEI Officer is to ensure diverse and inclusive perspectives are included in game design, including storylines, character development, gameplay, and community interaction.
“I’m excited to join a company that is prioritizing its commitment to DEI and making progress on the ambitious goals it has set for itself. In an industry with historical underrepresentation, I’m looking forward to leading the company’s efforts to further build a workplace that values transparency, equity, and inclusivity,” says Hines in the press release that announced her new position. And I take interest in this quite specifically (and not the corporate drivel Kottick spewed in that same press release). At least from the outside looking in, not much seems to have changed. Sure, progress takes time, but I’ve yet to hear employees say their morale has improved even a little since Activision has become “dedicated” to this idea of diversity.
Again, progress takes time, but you’d think that there’d be some news about some new policies in place that make a real difference. However, if I were to set my cynicism aside, I’d say that this is a brilliant pick. In Googling her past work, it seems that Hines truly believes in a diverse workplace and is more than just talk. I was fully prepared to come here and tell you guys she’s full of it, but who knows? She could be a start to turning this cesspool of a company around. The keyword being “start.” Only time will tell how dedicated Activision is to their goals of inclusivity, but for now I’m willing to call this a very very small win for now.