Is This the Kicker for Blizzard Entertainment?

Emily Bush • Staff Writer

photo of the front of blizzard entertainment HQ
Although Blizzard Entertainment was once notable and loved, many players have been taken aback by its allegiance to China’s censorship laws and its employees’ lack of respect for women. Photo Credit: The Verge.

Due to a recent controversy, Activision Blizzard has been sued by the Department of Fair Employment and Housing of California for alleged sexist behavior, culture, and even sexual harassment.

This is your warning now: if you are sensitive to these kinds of issues you may want to steer clear of digging too deep into this topic, as it gets pretty dark.

Known and (formerly) loved by gamers throughout many generations, demographics, and corners of the world, Blizzard Entertainment creates masterful games for many different styles of gaming.

You have the Diablo franchise, World of Warcraft, Starcraft, and Overwatch. However, behind all of these great titles comes a history steeped in controversy and greed.

Back in 2019, Blizzard Entertainment claimed that they fought for freedom of speech while silencing professional players and others using their character to protest China’s strong hold over Hong Kong.

Now, the same company who denied that freedom to others reveals malicious intent within their staff. Many higher-ups at Activision Blizzard have stepped down after being accused of “gender-based discrimination and sexual harassment,” also called “frat boy culture.”

California mentions several names in their lawsuit, such as the enabler of this harassment, President J. Allen Brack and Alex Afrasiabi, the former Senior Creative Director of World of Warcraft at Blizzard Entertainment.

The lawsuit explicitly lists some of the things Afrasiabi did during his time working for Blizzard Entertainment.

“During a company event (an annual convention called Blizz Con) Afrasiabi would hit on female employees, telling [them] he wanted to marry them, attempting to kiss them, and putting his arms around them. This was in plain view of other male employees, including supervisors, who had to intervene and pull him off female employees. Afrasiabi was so known to engage in harassment of females that his suite was nicknamed the ‘Cosby Suite’ after alleged rapist Bill Cosby,” the DFEH wrote.

Since all of this has come out, workers have stepped down and bowed out, either being wrapped up in the controversy or not wanting any part of it at all.

With this domino effect, players have questioned Blizzard’s motives to begin with, even uninstalling their games and boycotting the company to show their intolerance to such horrible behavior.

With all of this going on, what will become of Blizzard Entertainment as a whole? The company was able to recover in 2019, but now development for new games (Overwatch 2 and Diablo IV) has slowed to a creeping pace.

Will these creations be at all what was originally intended, or will the company fall to shambles?

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