Activision won’t be allowed to take part in this year’s The Game Awards

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The Game Awards host Geoff Keighley has confirmed that Activision will not be allowed to take part in this year’s awards. The statement was posted on Keighley’s official Twitter account. This decision was made in response to the ongoing cultural issues that have plagued Activision for years.

According to Keighley, it is important that Activision isn’t allowed to compete as “there is no place for abuse, harassment or predatory practices.” By not providing the American publisher a platform he believes that the awards are making a difference. Keighley intends to use his platform to “accelerate and inspire change.”

Activision’s problematic culture

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Despite this statement, Activision titles are still eligible to be nominated at The Game Awards. In fact, Call of Duty: Warzone has already been nominated for 2021’s Best Ongoing Game. It may not be able to win the award but even its inclusion is sure to be controversial.

The allegations against Activision from several parties are difficult to ignore. From its “Cosby Suite,” to CEO Bobby Kotick’s apparent apathy, the publisher has a deep culture issue that can’t be fixed overnight. That culture has created a workspace that is uncomfortable for all involved, but even more so for its female employees.

Of course, Activision isn’t the only culprit charged with these crimes. Both Riot and Ubisoft have had all sorts of allegations held against them too. Although these seem to have drawn less attention from the wider community. Case in point, there are no known plans to prevent these two companies from taking part in The Game Awards.

Hopefully, having a large award ceremony take a stance against Activision will prompt some much-needed change. It’s going to be a long journey to make things right but this is a promising start. Having an event that is in the public eye address this has the potential to force change. If that potential comes to light though is to be seen.

Bobby Kotick considers stepping down as CEO of Activision Blizzard

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It would be an understatement to say that things are not looking good for Activision Blizzard. The huge AAA publisher has been under investigation for various breaches of worker rights over the last few months. But somehow things look even worse at Activision. There are evidence found that CEO Bobby Kotick is part of the bad portion.

This follows Kotick’s previous statement that Activision would do everything possible to improve the company’s toxic culture. Yet his ability to do so is now being questioned with many feeling that he is part of the problem. According to Wall Street Journal, Kotick is ready to “consider leaving the company,” if things don’t improve.

Uproar at Activision

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Several Activision employees have demanded that CEO Bobby Kotick steps down. Furthermore, there is the expectation that the company’s shareholders will be able to select his replacement without his input. There are many reasons for Activision to leave its past behind.

This development follows both PlayStation and Xbox announcing that they will be investigating their relationship with Activision. It’s unclear what this could result in but at the very least it’s unlikely that either will be looking to directly work with Activision anytime soon. If two industry leaders and a state government aren’t enough to force change then nothing will be.

Currently, it is clear that the Activision board is in support of Kotick. Although their support is beginning to waver as more and more reports come to light. Their biggest concern is that Kotick was aware of the allegations and actively attempted to hide them from the public eye.

It will be interesting to see what the future holds for Activision. The games publisher announced its intentions to fix its culture by making a variety of changes.

However, if Activision CEO Bobby Kotick is the man to achieve that is to be seen.

Is Destiny In Trouble?

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Destiny

It was revealed at the Milken conference that Activision is investing $500 million dollars into Bungie’s latest venture, Destiny. While this appears to be great news for fans at first glance, I am slightly worried about what this could mean for the highly anticipated shooter.

It is worth mentioning that the sum of money will not only go into development costs, but everything from advertising to packaging. Regardless, it is estimated that Destiny will need to sell around 15 million copies at $60 to break even. If that sounds like a lot, it’s because it is.

Most games cannot dream of receiving that kind of success, with moderately budgeted titles selling only a fraction of the units. You occasionally get a smash hit like Grand Theft Auto V that sold 32 million units, but a lot of that is attributed to the fact that Grand Theft Auto as a name holds more value than any IP can dream of with its first title.

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Like Call of Duty or any other big name, you need only place the name on a box and it will sell; Destiny, as a new IP, doesn’t have that power. If they have one thing however, it’s that Bungie is revered as a top-notch developer, responsible for one of the most influential series in gaming history, Halo. While Destiny isn’t a household name, Bungie’s name and Halo could help ship units for sure. But is that enough?

Early previews of Destiny seem to flock to the idea that the game, while possessing frenetic fun and a slew of unique ideas, is either lacking something or is simply not ground-breaking.  This could be due to the fact that shooters in general are over-saturating the market, leading to genre-fatigue. Or, it could also be attributed to the fact that Activision is notorious for not wanting to take risks. When you think of the amount of money invested in Call of Duty, Skylanders, and other Activision franchises, it makes sense why their games never actually evolve.

Throw enough money at an IP, and the risk becomes too great to deem as “smart” business, though it is cowardice at its finest. Destiny, while ambitious, doesn’t seem to offer anything we’ve never seen before. It is playing it safe in a lot of regards, and the fact that Activision is already a ‘play it safe’ publisher helps the argument that they’re simply afraid to try anything risky. I feel it’s necessary to point out that we hardly have any details on Destiny at this point, and it could turn out to be one of the most innovative multiplayer games on the market, but until we can play it, it’s all hype and conjecture.

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Moving on, this brings up my biggest concern. Is Destiny already doomed? If it doesn’t sell enough units, Activision will have no reason to push the franchise, especially with such huge losses. If the marketing campaigns, big names, and the fact that Destiny will be on several platforms make it a success, are we destined to have tired sequels and franchise-fatigue? The game isn’t even out yet and Activision already has 10 years of content planned.

What this truly means for Destiny as an IP has yet to be seen, but if you’re worried like I am, I’d say we’re justified.