We’ve got a few more gaming-related Black Lives Matter stories to share this morning.
Riot Games: First up, yesterday we reported that Riot Games was investigating its Global Head of Consumer Products for a racist post about George Floyd on Facebook. We weren’t really expecting much to come of it given Riot’s history, but it appears the problem was sorted on its own. This morning, a spokesperson for the company reached out to us with an update to say that “Ron Johnson is no longer employed at Riot Games,” Riot says, though ESPN has since clarified that CEO Nicolo Laurent told employees that Johnson resigned, having recognized that he “exercised really poor judgment” and would “be ineffective as a leader at Riot going forward.” Here’s the rest of the message Riot sent to us:
“The sentiment expressed in the image in question is abhorrent and runs directly counter to our values and our belief that addressing systemic racism requires immediate societal change, something that we’re committed to working toward. As we shared last week, Riot is taking thoughtful and deliberate action to help combat racism and injustice in the communities where we work and live. To start, we’re committing $1 million to areas where we know we can make an impact, including justice reform, long-term solutions to address racial bias, and support for local Black-owned businesses. We’re also striving to change the face of our industry and create opportunities, including by investing $10 million in founders underrepresented in the games industry and helping create a future pipeline of underrepresented talent for the gaming and tech world. We know there is much work to be done, and we vow to do our part.”
Blizzard: Activision Blizzard and Blizzard Entertainment itself have followed up last week’s brief social media statements with a post describing the financial contributions the corporation will be making in support of racial justice. Between Bobby Kotick, the company, and employees being encouraged to donate, they’ve pledged a potential $4M across several charities and funds.
This is just a start. There's more to be done to back our words of support, and we'll share more as time goes on. Thanks to everyone who has donated and for working together to make a greater impact. Black lives matter. https://t.co/emJw8ZgHZt
— Blizzard Entertainment (@Blizzard_Ent) June 11, 2020
Bethsoft: While Bethesda Softworks already made a statement supporting Black Lives Matter last week, it has also issued a second post this week, detailing the specifics of what it’ll be doing to support the movement, including donating to the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and creating a diversity council and mentorship programs. The Twitter comments are filled with trolls, so probably worth it to just skip right to the full doc.
Playable Worlds: Finally, if you needed another reason to stan MMO developer Raph Koster, folks have I got one for you. Not only did he reemphasize that his new studio, Playable Worlds, will embrace diversity, as will the game itself, he even wrote and recorded a song. “Everyone is dealing with all this differently,” he said. “For whatever reason, I have been processing all this through a creative lens. I shared this on Facebook a while ago, but some friends of mine have persuaded me to share it more publicly. You probably want headphones, turned up loud. Please take it as an expression of shared grief and outrage from a rather light-skinned Latino who passes pretty much all the time and has a lot of privilege.”