Blizzard's president, J. Allen Brack, is leaving the company after damning reports and employee protests over its culture of harassment, the company announced this morning.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/bvz3av/blizzards-president-is-stepping-down
Is…is this accountability? Is that what that’s called? It’s been a while.
I am going to assume it is more a shuffling of chairs unless I hear from people more knowledgeable about Blizzard’s workforce say that this actually represents a meaningful change.
This is the Tsar appointing new ministers rather than actually fixing any of the demands the employees asked of him. Sure, you found a scapegoat and a woman for a job (who like Austin predicted, came from outside Blizzard), but where’s the structural change that stops any of this from happening again?
I think I heard that she’s from Vicarious Visions? Which is, yes, outside Blizzard but still within Activision’s big tent.
Okay? As heads on spikes go, this seems like practically nothing. Y’know, send someone up the river who isn’t unimportant to Acti-Blizz’s structure, but still serves as a convenient fall guy, you shake up management a bit with some token representation, and hope everyone forgets in few weeks or so when COD WW2 2: The Squeakquel is unveiled
In this situation, we should remember that the actual legal case is still upcoming, and while I can’t speak to what legal protections this might provide (though with how slack the law on corporations tends to be, I wouldn’t be surprised), the presidents of blizzard being able to say “that was before my time” to any questions asked in court is probably the best PR they could expect from this.
It’s not clear from the announcement that Brack is even leaving the company, just “stepping down as the leader of the studio”.
I have to assume that even this token display of organisational contrition wouldn’t have happened without the threat of the regulator looming over everything. Blizzard employees should take this opportunity to unionise while the forces that would organise resources against that effort are under state scrutiny. No better time than when you have that cudgel in your corner.
Not that Twitter is anything other than a funhouse mirror reflection of my own personal neuroses, but the level of people who are employed even by Large AAA Studios who are just openly RTing unionization calls is through the roof right now. I don’t know that you’ll see someone as big as Activision going for it anytime soon but I bet somebody’s going to go for it.
Activision is huge and so is Blizzard, but Blizzard is its own thing. They should push as hard as they can while everyone remotely close to C-suite level is jumping at shadows.
If I were Blizzard, I would be having an extremely off-books meeting with Vince Zampella and Jason West right now to figure out what an Activision hostile takeover looks like to know how to fight it in the process of unionization