Ever since California filed a sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuit against Activision-Blizzard in July, the industry has been appalled, but it’s also been squabbling over what exactly to do. And as the word “boycott” has floated up into our field of view as one option, some Blizzard staffers have agitated against it. Axios has a piece up this week speaking to multiple Blizzard staffers who have said they don’t necessarily want gamers to boycott the company.
“Some Activision Blizzard employees tell Axios that boycotts may do more harm than good. A current employee says that while they understand the reasoning behind it — losing money will catch the eye of executives and shareholders, forcing them to take action — it doesn’t actually work that way. ‘It’s harmful [to] the people who work there, who pour their lives into the game and are determined to make AB studios (and all game studios frankly) better places,’ they said. ‘We can’t fix these problems if we’re unemployed and we can’t elevate women if we’re boycotting all of the work they’ve done and are doing.'”
Another noted that boycotts may not even be effective anyway, and if they were, they’re “more likely to result in layoffs on the dev teams than any change in opinion or composition at the top.” Of course, as we’ve argued, asking ethical consumers to continue paying into a company that has allowed an abusive culture to flourish is also a problem, particularly when the company has laid off and abused workers for years regardless of how well the games have performed, which is why it might be better to find ways to support the workers who are trying to organize from the ground up.
But the current mood in the World of Warcraft community is dismal right now anyway, to the point that a boycott may be superfluous; a heavily upvoted and award-laden thread on the game’s subreddit details perceived reasons behind the deep decline of the game and how to save it. Good luck with that, folks.