On Tuesday, Activision Blizzard announced its financial results for the period, including the discrimination and sexual harassment lawsuit filed in California in July and its direct consequences. The headline news from investors is that the company’s year-end revenue outlook was weaker than analysts’ expectations, but it exceeded the third quarter’s expectations with a net income of US$2.07 billion, with the help of Diablo 2: Resurrection. improve.
However, finance felt like a secondary topic of the conference call, because the leaders of Activision Blizzard reiterated plans to comprehensively reform recruitment and human resource practices, and surprised employees to learn Blizzard co-leader Jen Oneal will step downThe resignation was shocking, and according to some people, when Blizzard began to improve, its morale took a hit.
Last week, Activision Blizzard finally responded to a series of requests made in July by employees who organized the strike. The company partially agreed to remove the mandatory arbitration requirement from the employment contract and agreed to go on strike on the grounds of “personal sexual harassment and discrimination claims.” Among other things, Activision Blizzard also promised to increase salary transparency, promote a diversified recruitment policy and a “zero tolerance harassment policy”, which will lead to immediate dismissal and “confiscation of future pay.”
Sources inside Activision Blizzard told PC Gamer this week that they witnessed an overall positive reaction to the announcement last week. The timing was considered dubious—in the investor conference call on Tuesday, these requests were promptly acknowledged as talking points—but the partial victory in the arbitration was seen as a clear achievement, and the diverse recruitment policies reflected individual What the Activision Blizzard team has done can be implemented without waiting for the company’s authorization. One thing that is still considered missing is the third-party supervision of recruitment and human resource practices, including supervision by committees selected by employees, but the sentiment of entering the earnings conference call is definitely greater than that of the executive officer Fran Townsend sent in early October. Untrustworthy email is better.
However, according to the employee, the news of Oneal’s resignation after serving as Blizzard’s co-leader only three months “stifled” the morale boost brought about by the concession last week. Oneal and Mike Ybarra succeeded former Blizzard boss J Allen Brack, who withdrew in August after the California lawsuit. With the resignation of Oneal, Ybarra is now the sole leader of Blizzard.
For some people, Oneal’s leadership is one of the best reasons they must believe that Blizzard has a better future. They now want to know why Oneal chose to leave so soon, leading people to speculate that something hasn’t been said.
“I didn’t do this because I didn’t have hope for Blizzard, on the contrary-I was inspired by the enthusiasm of everyone here who worked wholeheartedly to achieve meaningful, lasting change,” Wrote Oneal In a letter to employees. “This energy motivates me to go out and explore how to do more to make games and diversity intersect, and hope to have a broader industry impact, which will also benefit Blizzard (and other studios).”
Former Blizzard technical director Amy Dunham, who also announced his departure this week, pointed out that Blizzard’s three most senior women have left this year.
“Before you commit to recruiting more women (usually at the entry level, where people have fewer options for rejecting opportunities), figure out and address the reasons why all senior women choose to leave,” She wrote on Twitter.
In the past three months, due to HR surveys and new stricter policies, some others have resigned, and more than 20 people have resigned. According to Tuesday’s earnings report, the current bottom line has not been compromised: the user base of Call of Duty remains stable on PCs and consoles, while the mobile version of Call of Duty has achieved “double-digit growth” in revenue. Due to the release of “Diablo 2: Resurrection”, Blizzard’s revenue increased by 20% year-on-year, Hearthstone enjoys a stable popularity, and “World of Warcraft” is “on the right track”, ushering in the best non-expansion year in a decade .
However, although “Call of Duty: Pioneer” will be released this month, and the next major update of “Warzone” will be released in December, it was revealed during the earnings call that Blizzard’s next two large games will cost longer than expected When: “Overwatch 2” and “Diablo 4” have no public release dates, but we understand that their internal development schedule has been extended.
Activision Blizzard attributed the delay in part to the departure of company leaders. Diablo 4 game director Louis Barriga (Louis Barriga) left the company for unknown reasons after July’s allegations, although the company’s statement on ensuring a “safe and efficient work environment” implied this connection. Overwatch executive producer Chaco Sonny left Blizzard in September for reasons unrelated to the lawsuit, and in April, Overwatch director Jeff Kaplan also left the company.
For Activision Blizzard, staff turnover is not a new issue: a former employee recently told PC Gamer that they witnessed a wave of voluntary departures during the layoffs in 2019 and 2020. In addition to the delays in Overwatch 2 and Diablo 4, other long-term consequences of the company’s recent employee turnover rate may still appear.
“Our growth opportunities have never been better, but without talent, we will not be able to realize all the growth potential,” Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotic said on Tuesday’s earnings call. “In order to retain and attract the talent we need, we obviously must be considered the best place to work. This means we must have the most welcoming and inclusive environment.”
According to Kotick, the changes and initiatives announced so far are only the “beginning” of the company’s plans, and employees and shareholders will receive quarterly updates on progress.