Gaming companies from Blizzard to Daybreak stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter

Sony postpones PlayStation 5 event following week of national unrest

    
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Update: We’ve been updating the end of this piece with all the online gaming studio statements we can find this week.

Sony has apparently decided to put off the PlayStation 5 reveal event that was intended to run this Thursday. “We do not feel that right now is a time for celebration and for now, we want to stand back and allow more important voices to be heard,” the company said in a statement this afternoon. While Sony does not elaborate in this tweet, the Sony Twitter account makes it abundantly clear the decision is a result of the ongoing unrest across the United States, sparked by multiple incidents of police brutality this spring. It’s declared full support for the Black Lives Matter movement:

“Being silent about the violence and racism Black people experience is being complicit. We stand in solidarity today and every day with the Black community. #BlackLivesMatter. But actions always speak louder than words. And we’re working hard to make sure we at Sony are doing more than just stating we are allies. Right now, we want to use our platform to spread information & support. Please send links, resources, or other helpful information our way, and we’ll share them. When we all know more, we can do more.”

According to the New York Times, “at least 140” US cities have seen related protests in the last week, and if you’ve somehow missed all that, a quick trip to social will fill your eyeballs with smoke and violence.

Sony isn’t alone; Microsoft, Bungie, Digital Extremes, Blizzard, Daybreak, Bethsoft, and Standing Stone Games have now made similar statements.

Please be safe.

Update
Kotaku’s Nathan Grayson posted his perspective on being unlawfully detained during the protests.

Update – June 2
Activision has delayed content in several titles to avoid sideswiping the movement, as multiple other companies, including Ubisoft and Riot Games, continue making statements – and donations – in support of Black Lives Matter. Humble also pledged a million-dollar fund for helping Black game devs.

Update – June 2nd, evening
Adding Cloud Imperium, Echtra Games (PWE), and EA – including Respawn and BioWare, which made identical statements – to the list.

Update – June 3
Still more.

Niantic’s statement is a lot more than a statement too.

Kotaku has a piece up today with many but not all of these; it also includes a list of major gaming companies that haven’t spoken up at all, like Valve, Rockstar, and Epic Games.

Update – June 4

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mysecretid

Hmm.

One of the most crucial life-lessons I ever learned was this one. It serves me well even to this day:

“Never judge a person by who they say they are, judge them by what they do, especially when times are difficult”.

My instincts suggest that corporate press releases should be regarded the same way. Words are easy. What are they actually doing? That will tell the tale.

That’s all I’ve got.

Cheers,

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agemyth 😩

Well, it seemed novel at the time, but a day later and with some time to think about it the Playstation thing and basically all the other games industry folks took too long to craft these statements that generally don’t say enough. Most of these statements don’t mention George Floyd and do not tell us what the corporate entity is doing to make change happen.

The @Sony post specifically says they want people to share links and resources with them and that they will help reshare the links. WHAT?! Maybe they imply that’s what they are doing *now* and will be doing more, but that is basically crowdsourcing Twitter users for their corporate contributions to social justice.

My own take yesterday sucked as well since it was basically “cool, but what about hong kong.” That probably makes it abundantly clear that I am not black and don’t have nearly enough people in my life that this problem is more directly affecting. I am not equipped to understand the problem deeply enough to be able to articulate any interesting thoughts or feelings of worth. That failure is on me and I should do better.

But even I can make the observation that putting out boilerplate “heartfelt jpegs on social media” is only the bare minimum of what we should expect from these folks. Delaying your video game marketing event is a gesture, but you need to promise commitment and (most importantly) follow through with it. Any company that made these sorts of announcements yesterday and today had most of a week to think on this and get permission from the people with all the money in the company to do something that actively helps the cause. Then among the few who are at least giving their money away to good causes you have a company like Ubisoft, one of the biggest companies in the industry, pledging a measly $100k.

The Ubisoft example is particularly egregious when you consider the fact that their biggest “games-as-service” title makes them big bucks off the glorification of militarized police force.

tldr: Too little too late game corps.

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McGuffn

Ubisoft makes “apolitical” safe spaces for nazis. Not surprised to see them on the list, they have more to hide.

Not sure if they’ve posted anything, but the lack of seeing arenanet on here does more than anything else to confirm that they’re a foreign owned shell now.

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Bruno Brito

but the lack of seeing arenanet on here

I’m holding my tongue on that, because they MAY be preparing something better. Anet is way better at representation than any of these companies.

That being said, the former issue with Mike and Price ( altho she was in the wrong, he kinda messed up ), doesn’t fill me with hope.

There’s also the NCSoft problem.

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Bruno Brito

EA is pledging one million and matching donations.

All that is fine and all, and the intention is great…if you forget EA is a company that has a net worth of 22.9 BILLION. And that companies get millions of dollars worth of free advertisement when they do this shit. They learned well.

They recover way more in profits. They literally profit from fake concern and half-assed measures.

Wanna impress me? Donate a Billion.

smuggler-in-a-yt
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smuggler-in-a-yt

Thanks for posting this, Bree. One of the things I appreciate the most about MOP is how well you all aggregate these fascinating historical captures.

I’m glad that these companies are speaking out. I hope they do more to support their colleagues suffering in this time. And I hope that MOP does a look-back on this in six months the same way you did Blizz-chung and hold those studios up to a light to see what they have done to help, to heal, to make the U.S. a better nation for all.

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fastcart

Thanks for posting Nathan Grayson’s tweet. Wow…

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Real

Hi – a challenge for everyone here who is cynical about these “faceless, formless corporations” and how they utilize events like this as a “means for profit.”

Behind every faceless, formless corporation, there are Black and Brown people who comprise a major part of their labor force. They feel a certain way about real-world events, and this has a real, tangible impact on the way that they interact with other people, work, and feel.

Some people get to comprehend this in a cynical manner — ‘it doesn’t apply to me, and I know a corporation’s first and foremost goal is to provide value for shareholders’.

I’d like to provide an alternative insight – public sentiment follows money and corporate power. There was a moment in history where saying Black Lives Matter didn’t make internal, confidential memos, let alone a company’s public Twitter page. To you, this may seem like a way to gain consumer mindshare and echo pre-existing public sentiment. To others, it may seem like a way for their employer to publically “go to bat” for their beliefs in the corporate area. You don’t get that luxury/sentiment often.

I welcome any insight and welcome an opportunity to clarify any point I’ve made.

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Bruno Brito

I respect the more optimistic views. I just don’t see them happening.

“I’m confident, thought. That by acknowledging the racial wound that we pretended did not exist; by seeing it for what it is, we still won’t do jack shit.” – Jon Stewart

“I wonder if President Obama ever thought to himself, that mass shootings speeches would be a big part of his job. Because, at this point, he hosted 12 ( twelve ) state dinners. But he had to give 16 ( SIXTEEN ) mass shooting speeches. (…) And the President made a powerful point, if this is the country that America wants to be, and the saddest part is, everytime this happens, it feels like America already decided: This is exactly the kinda country we want to be.” – Trevor Noah.

I hope for the best. I expect the worse. Because i’m sick and tired of fearing that my friend can’t get home tonight because a cop shot her dead in the streets, and not even a cry for justice is respected anymore for it. Exhausted that my ex-girlfriend can be the target of police brutality easily, which is as common in my country as it is in the US.

It has been 500 years here. And we’re still at the point where minorities are sub-class citizens. And watching it is heartbreaking.

Imagine living it.

I really, really, really hope this movement can conquer, even if by one step at the time, ground. But, and maybe i’m cynical here, i don’t see a country that still allows streets and squares named after confederate generals and a tree that was used to hang slaves to be a city monument getting better. Specially when it’s police is not even obligated to protect or serve anyone.

I’m sorry. I’m really sorry.

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48 Pistols

Cringe overload. Can’t they just make video games?

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Raidervc

Oddly enough, these major companies can make games AND support the voices working against the systemic racism in America.

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Bruno Brito

I mean, yeah. They can put forward a 5min work about support and donate what is to them, pocket money, that will be returned tenfold as profit.

And then getting back to firing 800 employees and harassing the fuck out of their devs.

Those with the most cash and power are the ones dwidling their thumbs and reaping the benefits, while the disenfranchised children paid minimum-wage are on the streets getting tear gassed and suffocated trying to change the world for one day.

God bless America.

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Toy Clown

This is something that affects all of us, across the world. I’ve watched the news more in the last two months than I have in the last two decades and I have never felt worse about … a lot of things. At least I don’t feel ashamed to call myself a gamer this day.

I really want to believe that when we come out on the other side of this, that change can finally take shape to better the lives of those that have consistently been left behind.

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Ixchel Shadoweater

Awesome.
Xenophobia belongs no where on this planet.

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Bruno Brito

BLM is about racism, dude. This is not a xenophobia issue.

Techno Wizard
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Techno Wizard

It’s sad whats happened but it’s even sadder to watch corporations exploit it.

Maybe everyone will calm down soon so civilized justice and due process can do what it’s there for instead.

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Bruno Brito

Maybe everyone will calm down soon so civilized justice and due process can do what it’s there for instead.

This won’t happen because what’s happening right now is what’s actually the standard. Floyd is not the first black man to be killed by cops without any rhyme or reason, and he won’t be the last. Considering how the protests are going, you won’t see a reform of the police force anytime soon.

By the way, the american cops are not forced by any law, to “protect and serve”, so, that’s a gut punch in itself.

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Connor

“Floyd is not the first black man to be killed by cops without any rhyme or reason, and he won’t be the last.”

Hell it’s happened several times over the weekend by cops who knew they were on camera at a time when the entire nation if not much of the world is paying attention to this and the cops either did not care or were confident in their immunity to punishment.

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Bruno Brito

They killed a man who did bbqs for free for them.

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Raidervc

Due Process has shown time and time again an inability to hold police accountable for violence against the black community. If they didn’t listen when we silently kneeled, they’ll listen when we turn our day after day against them.

Techno Wizard
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Techno Wizard

But you have to keep trying with due process. Eventually, it will work, with faith and tough skin. And I have to believe in due process because of that. And do.

One day there will be true equality, with due process included. I just have to believe that, and I can’t believe anything else.

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Bruno Brito

Just to leave this here.

The cops aren’t obligated in no way, shape or form to protect or serve anyone.

The due process failed for centuries. That’s why people are fighting right now. And they’re learning, with every tear gas grenade, macing and beating, that there isn’t a due process for them.

That this is all by design.

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Dankey Kang

It’s so cringy watching brands pretend to care about social issues. They’d love you to believe that they’re virtuous but the reality is they will always just do what is profitable, even if that means turning a blind eye to people’s suffering.

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Toy Clown

It’s far more “cringy” to watch the US president order fire into peaceful protestors so he can do a photoshoot of himself holding a bible in front of a church while threatening to send the military into our cities at a time we need solidarity. I’ll take the encouragement and calls for solidarity from gaming companies over that any day.

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Bruno Brito

Both are awful. And “solidarity” is a really strong word.