MMO Business Roundup: Activision-Blizzard rebuffs diversity proposal, gaming Kickstarters are on the rise again

    
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You were a pretty place.

Welcome back to another roundup of MMO and MMO-adjacent gaming industry news!

MMO Kickstarters may have lost the faith of the genre’s playerbase, but for video games on the whole, the platform is raising more money than ever. According to a new ICO Partners report (via GIbiz), video games scored $23M through Kickstarter last year, the highest since 2015, though that was for slightly fewer games than in 2019 (meaning the games that funded made more than those that funded in 2019). But it’s also worth noting that only six of those games generated more than half a million dollars on the platform.

Rockstar and Take-Two have apparently stymied another cheat website, this one known as LucaCheats. As first reported on Eurogamer, the hackers announced that development has ceased and the purveyors will be donating past proceeds to a charity selected by Take-Two.

Riot Games is likewise stamping out cheaters. Valorant’s anti-cheat team recently posted a missive to players discussing how it’s vetted accounts for its First Strike tourney and the competitive ladder system and how it’s working to prevent future cheating, including implementing 90-day penalties for “bussing.”

Finally, Activision-Blizzard is being called out around the industry this week after a Vice/Motherboard report that suggests Blizzard is balking at improving its hiring diversity. US labor group AFL-CIO and Acti-Blizz shareholders proposed that the company adopt policies akin to the NFL’s Rooney Rule, which requires executives to interview diverse (across race and gender) candidates for key jobs. The idea behind such rules is to improve the diversity of candidates, which theoretically would improve the diversity of hires. Activision-Blizzard, however, has characterized the proposal as “micromanagement” and said that “implementing a policy that would extend such an approach to all hiring decisions amounts to an unworkable encroachment on the Company’s ability to run its business and compete for talent in a highly competitive, fast-moving market.” EA, we point out, received a similar proposal and told Vice that the board of directors would consider it. EA. E. A.

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Rob Hagaman

Great choice by Activision-Blizzard; because, you know, hiring the same white, insular group instead of getting not only diversity of race/sex, but the viewpoint diversity that comes with them, will always encourage innovation and increase your player base for the future.

A-B is racing EA to the bottom. I won’t play any game from either one.

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Rndomuser

video games scored $23M through Kickstarter last year, the highest since 2015

https://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/there%27s+a+sucker+born+every+minute

And yes, I was one of them (and not only with video games). Though “Divinity 2: Original Sin” was the one Kickstarter that I was fully satisfied with backing (and I gifted this game to other people when it was finally released), because the company owners knew perfectly how to manage their budget, time and manpower and never tried to lie to me.

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Wilhelm Arcturus

EA prevaricated, saying neither yes nor no. It is a sign of our low expectations that they get a pass for simply not shooting themselves in the foot.

As for ActiBlizz straight up saying “no,” that seems dumb, and all the more so for looking bad relative to EA. If you’re hiring in a major metro area… LA, SF Bay, Austin, Seattle, Toronto… and you’re not getting a diverse set of candidates, you are doing something wrong. Maybe video games is a very different industry, but in enterprise software I haven’t filled a position in 20+ years where we only interviewed white males.

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Paragon Lost

“MMO Kickstarters may have lost the faith of the genre’s playerbase” -Bree

That’s because we’ve lost faith in MMO developers ability to actually produce an MMO. So yeah, here’s looking right back ‘atcha MMO developers. Personally my favorite drum to beat is the one where I point out that Kickstarter is not a good platform for MMO development.

Oh and of course Activision-Blizzard did. They really aren’t learning the lessons here that are to be learned. :/ Stay classy Activision-Blizzard.

Pepperzine
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Pepperzine

The only thing I’ve kickstarted since the initial bubble is Frosthaven, and dam am I excited to see what Isaac Childres has up his sleeve.

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IronSalamander8 .

I’ve KSed several board games and only a couple video games. I love Gloomhaven, and Frosthaven looks great as well, but skipped KSing this time around. Despite that, at least one of our local board game group has KSed Frosthaven, so hoping to play it eventually!

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Greaterdivinity

“implementing a policy that would extend such an approach to all hiring decisions amounts to an unworkable encroachment on the Company’s ability to run its business and compete for talent in a highly competitive, fast-moving market.”

Hot-take translation: We mostly hang out with our fellow largely white dude executives and hire from those social circles, so having to actually review candidates based on their qualifications rather than just who we’re friends with will seriously slow down our ability to hire our buddies.

Who knew that just asking a company to simply interview a few more executive candidates for a position was such a massive imposition on their ability to operate.

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Utakata

Diversity is hard! Bigoted…I mean, exclusive hiring practices is easy! Who knew…

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Arktouros

If we follow the logic of your hot take then does spending the time/money getting headhunters to go find diversity hires for interviews make any sense if all you’re going to do is hire the white dude executive in your social circle anyways?

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Greaterdivinity

“diversity hires” is such a bad, garbage, no-good, awful, stupid, nonsense phrase that discounts the qualifications of people historically shut out of opportunities because they weren’t the right complexion or didn’t have the right dangly bits.

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Bruno Brito

then does spending the time/money getting headhunters to go find diversity hires for interviews make any sense if all you’re going to do is hire the white dude executive in your social circle anyways?

They could at least hide the fact that they’re going to keep shoving our asses with Ions and Bracks, couldn’t they? Hell, they might even get a good fucking hire out of that and who knows, improve the mediocrity that their goddamn studios became?