Abuse in the gaming industry

Abuse in the gaming industry
Source: Twitter

Activision blizzard under fire. The top of the abuse iceberg.

Activision Blizzard known for classics such as World of Warcraft, Call of Duty and Overwatch, was put under the microscope for the last few months due to accusations of abuse and harassment. An open letter was addressed to Activision Blizzard`s management by more than 3000 employees who were asking for “official statements that recognize the seriousness of the allegations and demonstrate compassion for victims of harassment and assault”.

Abuse in the game development industry

In July of 2020 the Department of Fair Employment and Housing, after 2 years of investigating, has filed a lawsuit against Activision Blizzard, accusing them of “constant sexual harassment, including groping, comments, and advances”.

To fight this ongoing legal battle the company has employed the assistance of International Law Firm “Wilmer Hale”, known for union-busting as they themselves state they are versed in “union awareness and avoidance”. This company is also known for its efforts in stopping Amazon employees, known for working in miserable conditions, from unionizing. Furthermore, to avoid consequences Activision Blizzard announced they are working with Governmental Institutions on establishing an 18 million dollars fund to compensate the abused employees, with no promises of actual tangible internal changes at this date.

CD Projekt Red`s history of abuse and crunching.

Cd Projekt Red is a Polish game development company based in Poland best known for hit titles such as The Witcher 3:Wild Hunt and the highly controversial Cyberpunk 2077. In October 2020 an angry Redditor, claiming to be a Cd Projekt employee, made a post complaining about horrible work-life balance, 16 hour work days, and mismanagement, finding out game delays from twitter rather than an official source. This has later been confirmed by known video-game journalist Jason Schrier.

Furthermore, after being the subject of an abuse investigation in which he was found not guilty, Konrad Tomaszkiewicz, director of The Witcher 3 Wild Hunt and second director and head of production for Cyberpunk 2077, resigned. In his official statement, he said that “a lot of people are feeling fear, stress, or discomfort when working with me”

History of abuse in other companies

As reported by the New York Times, abuse in the game development industry is nothing new. There are reports of people such as Jean Simonet, game dev on the famous The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, who presented himself if severe stomach pain at the doctor due to overworking. The International Game Developer Association reports a high number of game devs say that work-life balance is horrible and that they were subject to crunching for multiple weeks at a time. Even though the 2020 report Covid pandemic and working from home seems to have ameliorated the problem, 2019 reports and earlier show that going back to the office may bring back these draconian practices.


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