Video game unionization effort starts petition to remove Bobby Kotick from Activision-Blizzard

    
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After calling for Activision-Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick to resign on Wednesday, video game industry unionization group Game Workers Unite has now put together a campaign and petition to agitate for the same.

“We are proud to partner with @teamcoworker to organize this campaign. Their many successful campaigns to improve the lives of workers are an inspiration,” the group tweeted. “If you support the 800 Activision Blizzard employees who were laid off while the c-suite personally raked in millions, sign our petition to #FireBobbyKotick!”

The move comes in the wake of ActiBlizz executives deciding to axe 800 jobs across multiple studios in spite of its record-high revenues in 2018. The petition has over a thousand signatures right now.

A few other news bits on the new story that dominated the entire week:

  • There’s a positively gigantic list of game studios that are hiring floating around Linkedin. Whatever your current thoughts on the industry as a whole, you gotta love the worker solidarity here.
  • GIbiz’s NA editor has up a scathing piece on the move examining Kotick’s business strategies – and finding them wanting, particularly in the long-term: “For him at least, it seems the company’s incentives truly reward profit and nothing else. But beyond any kind of moral scolding one would direct at a multimillionaire many times over who values increasing his own net income over the well-being of hundreds and hundreds of his employees, Kotick’s aggressive short-term optimizing looks reckless in the long run.”
  • Here’s some irony: Not even all the shareholders are happy with Kotick. One shareholder who commented on the union twitter thread pointed out that not only was he unhappy with the treatment of the 800 people fired, he’d still “lost a large amount of money in the stock due to Bobby Kotick being an idiot” and therefore supported giving him the boot.
Source: Petition. Thanks, Serrenity.
Update
The US’s largest labor union, AFL-CIO, has an open letter on Kotaku urging game developers to unionize.

“While you’re putting in crunch time, your bosses are ringing the opening bell on Wall Street. While you’re creating some of the most groundbreaking products of our time, they’re pocketing billions. While you’re fighting through exhaustion and putting your soul into a game, Bobby Kotick and Andrew Wilson are toasting to ‘their’ success. They get rich. They get notoriety. They get to be crowned visionaries and regarded as pioneers. What do you get? Outrageous hours and inadequate paychecks. Stressful, toxic work conditions that push you to your physical and mental limits. The fear that asking for better means risking your dream job.”

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Ernost
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Ernost

I don’t think this will actually lead to anything. At the end of the day, the only people with the power to actually get rid of him are the shareholders, and the board of directors yes? And all they care about are profits. And ActiBlizz had a record-high quarter and year under this guy

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luxundae

This seems perfectly reasonable to me. If someone screwed you over, profited from firing you and 800 of your coworkers, and seems set on destroying the culture of the institution you poured so much of your energy into….of course you’re going to try to get him removed from his position. It would be weird if you didn’t.

For the people calling this pandering or mob justice….huh? This is just the normal way humans work.

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Utakata

Go for it! #ITMFA

“I don’t think there is a process of impeaching corporate heads, Uta.”

…I know, but it just sounds good right now. >.<

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A Dad Supreme

As long as you are taking the time to be outraged over firings, you should throw away your cellphone.

You DO know how those companies get the materials for their batteries, don’t you?

https://www.thedailybeast.com/this-is-what-we-die-for-child-slaves-made-your-phone-battery

Andy McAdams
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Andy McAdams

We lack the capacity to champion every cause ever. Championing one injustice does not mean you don’t care about another. Championing one cause doesn’t mean that there aren’t more terrible things going on in the world.

This is a silly argument. Under this logic we should never be upset about anything because something else is always worse that’s more deserving of our outrage.

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Armsbend

It really doesn’t get any more well said than this statement. It is also a lot easier for most of us to enact change at the local level – rather than the international level under complete foreign government control.

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Utakata

You know it’s all about being outraged at others’ outrage. An entirely pointless and useless position to take. But hey…whatever floats folks’ boats. O.o

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Bruno Brito

Yeah, this whataboutism is starting to get irritating.

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McGuffn

The good news is those child slaves are toiling every day so we can play Diablo Immortal.

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Utakata

Speaking of hyperbole, what a non-sequitur this thread is turning out to be! o.O

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Utakata

“I think you are over extending your pigtails here, Uta.”

Yeah…when others replied to this a 1000 and 1 times better, I really don’t think they need my help. :(

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A Dad Supreme

I guess this means that everyone will be throwing out all of their Blizzard items/collectibles they’ve bought and collected over the yea- hahaha!

Just kidding. We know no one is doing that, lol.

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Armsbend

I’m pretty sure even the garbage men won’t pick up my Starcraft: Ghost body pillow at this point.

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A Dad Supreme

Ha! Maybe. I look at Blizzard and buying their games just like I look at Chic-Fil-A.

Do I agree with their social policies? Nope, not at all. Do they make chicken good enough to make me forget them? Almost. So I still buy the chicken, but don’t have to agree with what they believe. I’m able to separate the two and not lump/confuse them together.

In the same vein, I would still buy Blizzard games if they were fun/good enough (which they usually are) even if I don’t agree with their management style. Again, I can separate quality games from quesionable business decisions.

Everything in life has to be weighed on scales per individual. Many people complain yet they will buy more games from them in the future, just like people are supporting EA by playing Apex, and support NCSoft, and support Microsoft, and so on and so forth.

Honestly, I had more contempt for the same people who have iPhones knowing how Apple makes them and the human cost they cause, but yet they are somehow utraged that a company fired someone and will never buy another video game, yet are waiting for the next iPhone version.

I suspect it’s the same with many posters here; people are in their homes so we can’t see them playing the games or keeping the items they had even though they claim to be so outraged at what’s happened.

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Armsbend

For your Chik Fil A example I think you can have an opinion on society, even a really really mean one, and as long as you don’t actively promote your meanness then it is okay by me. Everyone is entitled to an opinion.

Activision does what I consider employee abuse. They work these guys and gals to the bone, making top notch game. When Activision achieves huge financial success with those same games do they pass along some of those wins to the tireless worker bees who made it happen? NEVER.

It’s a personal thing for me – one crosses my line and one doesn’t. Blizzard just finally crossed my line.

By the by, I’ve read numerous case studies on Chik Fil A’s gaff. At the time they were giving out free sandwiches to semi hate groups they were having growing pains. They were turning from a small, mostly regional food chain into something much larger. They were having some trouble navigating those waters. Instead of doubling down (as is so often the case today) they regrouped, took a look at some of their policies and became much better for it.

I admit to being very biased – their original store is a few minutes from my house and I’ve been eating their food since the 1970s.

PurpleCopper
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PurpleCopper

I do remember alot of people boycotting Blizzard’s RealID system back a while ago by cancelling their WoW subs, and eventually Blizzard backed down and dropped the whole RealID system.

But then again, that could be attributed to something else.

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Bryan Correll

I assume the petition will be delivered via a winged swine.

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Greaterdivinity

I’m on board with this. Also, a topical/relevant headline from PC Gamer that’s both hilarious because of the shot it takes at Acti-Blizz and depressingly too soon.

https://www.pcgamer.com/ubisoft-makes-strong-profits-doesnt-fire-800-people/

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Armsbend

like an onion article but real :)

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Dug From The Earth

Kick a large corporate CEO out?

But what about capitalism?

In all seriousness though, this IS the system working as intended. Removing one CEO would be no different than a glutton intolerant person taking just ONE wheat thin out of the box and then snacking happily on the rest.

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Dystopiq

I’m all for unions to protect employees in the video game industry, however, no sane business would keep positions that no longer benefited the company. These weren’t developer positions that got axed. They were roles in ventures that the company decided were losses. They’re not putting money in esports and associated support roles so naturally they get axed. It’s better to cut those and use those resources to strengthen developer roles, which is where they made their money. Companies do this all the time and no one gets their underoos in a bunch. I also do believe their leadership is in dire need of some reorganization and a reminder of what made Blizzard great in the first place.

Veldara
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Veldara

I’d rather see a crash and have the games industry shrink back down from what it has become today.

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A Dad Supreme

I’m the reverse. I’d rather not cut off the nose to spite the face.

Dealing with things on a case by case basis is much smarter than saying “Burn it all down!”

Veldara
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Veldara

I see it more as a bloated industry that’s marching towards that anyway. Having gaming shrink back down would free up creativity.