Blizzard and Bethsoft donate for racial justice, Riot parts ways with troubling exec, and Raph Koster writes a song

    
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Blizzard and Bethsoft donate for racial justice, Riot parts ways with troubling exec, and Raph Koster writes a song

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.

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.”

Source: Blizzard, Bethsoft, Raph Koster. Thanks, Pepperzine.

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zaber

Is good they give money, but I think is more about marketing them self then anything other. When hurts them making money then they don’t care who it is or what it’s it for.

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Rndomuser

The Twitter comments are filled with trolls, so probably worth it to just skip right to the full doc.

You mean it is worth it to just skip all the valid concerns by some people who pointed out the fact that Bethesda only cares about social issues where it may be profitable to them and they do not show support for any minority groups where it is not profitable to them? Is it really “trolling” to point out the fact that Bethesda has LGBT Pride Month icon on their English Twitter account yet they do not have it on their Russian Twitter account because they do not want to lose market in Russia in case Russian government will force them to stop selling their games for their support for LGBT community? Do you honestly believe they care about racial justice and not just pretending considering the facts that people pointed out in their replies on Twitter?

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Utakata

That’s a whole lot of JAQ’ing off there. o.O

To qualify though, and add to what Ms. Bree just said, that depends on the poster. What tact’s they are using. Are they arguing in good faith and/or from strong moral position (ie. not defending the indefensible)? Are they chocking their comments full of dog whistles, and/or going full on edgelord? I could go on…

But it’s been my experience, that they are trolls because their position is knowingly invalid and/or their approach is deplorable. And not because they are attempting to add meaning to the conversation or challenge it, to which oft they are demonstratively not.

…if you’ve been around the internets long enough though, you shouldn’t have to be told this. /shrug

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Bullet Teeth

I love the absolute fucking HYPOCRACY that Blizzard & Activision are showing.

The fucking gall, the balls and the complete and utter disregard they have is something of wonder and awe.

“Grounded in our values of excellence and inclusion…”

“fighting against systemic inequality.”

Like Blitzchung you lying snakes?

But that was China, and that was business. Just like this.

Business.

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Fisty

Wouldn’t it be cool if all these racist scumbags who clog our global chat in games would actually stop playing due to these donations? The twitter feeds are full of them threatening just that. One could hope they stick w their convictions

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Utakata

I hope something comes along sucks them all away to unreachable void in time and dimension…as they suck the soul out of everyone else who isn’t them, to put it mildly. /bleh

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Rndomuser

I hope they would. Sadly many will still continue playing and many companies will keep tolerating such people until their behavior gets attention of politicians or various media sources. I don’t know if you are aware of The Enclave, which was the large and very long-standing racist community which participated in games like Planetside 2 and WoW, Blizzard basically did not care about them until a certain politician brought an attention to their behavior:

https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/3kxw4b/congressman-lou-correa-shames-blizzard-for-letting-nazis-run-wild-in-world-of-warcraft

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Fisty

Not sure we need politicians coming in and screwing things up though. They can’t even get a handle of whats happening IRL w hate groups, doubt they’re gonna get it right in MMO’s either.

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Bryan Correll

Confession: Despite regularly reading it over the years, this is the first time I realized Koster’s first name isn’t “Ralph.”

/ashamed

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Greaterdivinity

Riot: “We have money, so as always we’ll just default to nebulously throwing money at our internal problems and hoping that’s a distraction rather than making actual internal reforms.” Still not impressed, Riot.

Blizzard: Cool, cool. Money helps and all. But like, do you think we’re gonna forget that y’all remained silent on the Hong Kong protesters? I mean, credit to Blizzard that they’re already pretty firmly “woke” and a regular target of the anti-ess-jay-dubya crowd for everything from CENSORING SYLVANAS’S MIDRIFF (how dare) to HAVING DIVERSE BACKGROUNDS FOR MANY OVERWATCH CHARACTERS THAT ARE LARGELY ONLY ADDRESSED OUT OF GAME. But still not gonna not be salty towards them.

Beth: As trolly as all the posts are, and as awful as many of the trolls making them may be, they’ve got a fuckin point. Beth’s gonna just change their profile pics for pride month in nations where it’s popular? Cool business move, also cool morally bankrupt move. Guess the LGBTQ+ communities in those regions/countries don’t deserve much in Beth’s eyes. The council’s and whatnot are a good step, but what matters is if they actually follow through with it and this isn’t just more “performative wokeness”

And I like Raph. He’s a damn good cookie, he is.

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Bruno Brito

Riot: Wake me up when you do the same with the sexual harasser.

Blizzard: Cool, 4M in donations.

Uh…how much does Kotick makes per month, again?

Beth: Eh.

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Rndomuser

Guess the LGBTQ+ communities in those regions/countries don’t deserve much in Beth’s eyes.

They are afraid to lose profits in the countries which are against LGBT rights. It is very obvious that this is the only thing that matters to them.

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McGuffn

Look at ESPN, finally covering real sports instead of that made up crap where people get sweaty and exercise.