Blizzard Entertainment, the developer of huge franchises like Diablo and Overwatch, has been under intense scrutiny since California sued parent company Activision Blizzard last summer over allegedly fostering a culture of harassment and discrimination. In an attempt to assure employees and fans that the company is making positive changes, Blizzard boss Mike Ybarra published a blog post detailing what it is doing to “rebuild your trust.”
At the top of the list is that executive and management teams will be measured “directly against culture improvement,” which means that their compensation will “depend on our overall success in creating a safe, inclusive, and creative work environment at Blizzard,” Ybarra says.
He also outlined new full-time roles that have been created to help improve culture, including:
a Culture leader who will help us maintain the best aspects of what we have today, and change and evolve where needed to ensure everyone brings their best self to Blizzard
a new organizational leader for Human Resources who will build trust, empower our teams, and help foster a safe, positive work environment for everyone
a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I) leader solely focused on our progress across multiple efforts in this area
Blizzard has also “tripled” the size of its compliance and investigation teams, shared representation data internally (which was not included with the blog post), set goals for improving those metrics (also not shared), and created an “upward feedback program” for employees to evaluate managers, Ybarra said.
We’re committed to more open dialog directly with the amazing player communities – not just from me but from all of our incredible teams. https://t.co/5MUILlUCnS
We also believe that creative success and autonomy go hand-in-hand with treating every person with dignity and respect. We hold all teams, and all leaders, to this commitment. We’re looking forward to extending our culture of proactive inclusion to the great teams across Activision Blizzard.
Ybarra also tacitly acknowledged Blizzard’s lack of recent big releases, a problem that was exacerbated after Overwatch 2 and Diablo IV were delayed in November with no release dates in sight, but it sounds as if we could learn more about the studio’s games sometime next week. “We also know we need to deliver content to our players on a more regular basis and innovate both in and beyond our existing games,” Ybarra said. “We have some exciting things to announce, and I’ll be sharing more next week.”
Disclosure: Casey Wasserman is on the board of directors for Activision Blizzard as well as the board of directors of Vox Media, Srdtf News’s parent company.