Gaming’s rotten core doesn’t stop at Activision Blizzard ENTERTAINMENT

77 26/06/2022

The Activision Blizzard lawsuit was just the beginning

So far, the video game industry’s reckoning over sexual harassment and discrimination has rocked major third-party publishers and developers like Activision Blizzard, Ubisoft, Riot Games and select smaller studios.

Major platform holders like Microsoft and Sony, on the other hand, have remained absent from the conversation. That’s mostly because those companies’ gaming divisions are just one part of much larger global organizations with supposedly more rigorous standards and accountability practices, as well as healthier workplace cultures.

Gaming’s rotten core doesn’t stop at Activision Blizzard ENTERTAINMENT

That image is now falling apart, at least for Sony. New details about a lawsuit that first made headlines back in November emerged last week, including the addition of accounts from eight more women who are current or former PlayStation employees, according to Axios.

Meanwhile, the Activision Blizzard saga continues. While the lawsuit against Sony heats up, the legal troubles of Activision Blizzard are poised to set a precedent for how courts, state agencies and regulators handle similar issues across the industry.

The Activision Blizzard lawsuit has become a rallying cry. Since last summer, when details of California’s discrimination suit against the Call of Duty publisher were made public, the game industry’s long-simmering sexism has taken center stage alongside calls for better labor practices and potential unionization.

We don’t know too many more details about the lawsuit against Sony, and the company has not yet responded to the new allegations, with a hearing to settle the company’s request to dismiss the suit set for next month.

But what the Activision Blizzard saga has made clear is that one person’s experience is hardly ever an isolated incident, and that the game industry’s rotten core isn’t limited to just a handful of companies. The sexism and harassment issues plaguing game developers worldwide are an endemic element to the practice of making video games at companies big and small, no matter how experienced or well-established the studio is.

— Nick Statt

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