Activision-Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick clearly doesn’t fear the Blizzard boycott that is still technically ongoing following Blizzard’s October decision to penalize a Hearthstone esports star and multiple other casters and players following his vocal support of home rule for Hong Kong during a post-tournament stream.
According to multiple outlets, Kotick attended the CNBC Evolve conference this week, at which he was asked about the role of games company leadership on political topics like China and so-called gaming addiction. And while he didn’t actually discuss Blizzard and Hong Kong specifically, he did dismiss the idea that games involve politics.
“[W]e’re not the operator of the world’s town halls. We’re the operator of the communities that allow you to have fun through the lens of a video game. And you know, I — my responsibility is to make sure that our communities feel safe, secure, comfortable and satisfied and entertained. And so I don’t — I don’t — that doesn’t convey to me the right to have a platform for a lot of political views, I don’t think. I think my responsibility is to satisfy our audiences and our stakeholders, our employees, our shareholders. But I think there are some business people who are incredible examples of character and integrity and principle and have what you see are the great attributes of leadership, and I think that they are incredibly inspiring for me. But I think, you know, they do have the right to articulate views and visions and voices about government and policy and politics, and I love engaging with those people.”
We are sure gamers have heard this argument dozens of times from people who really like making money, but of course every company and every video game is political, whether we’re talking unionization and corporate ethics, in-game political themes and quests and representation, or real-world science and law revolving around games. Neutrality is essentially impossible.
We’ve covered Blizzard’s Blitzchung fiasco extensively if you need a refresher.