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
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.
Despite its industry leading Vanguard anti-cheat system, Valorant has a hacker problem. RIOT’s skill-based hero shooter launched back June and has been performing well since. And yet the American based publisher has had a hard time slowing down the ongoing cheating. But it does have a new plan to address this.
In a new development post, RIOT outlined its new strategy to counteract cheating. Going forward, all players who opt to party up with a proven cheater will also receive punishment. The biggest punishment RIOT is prepared to hard out is a 90-day penalty for playing with cheaters. This means that any accomplices won’t be able to play ranked for three months once caught.
Valorant cheaters getting busted
At face value that ban may seem a little steep but it’s been chosen for good reason. Many players who choose to party up with cheaters are doing so for short-term gain. Even though they are aware the cheater won’t last long, they can still earn easy skill rating by playing with them. It’s currently unclear if you can get punished for unknowingly teaming up with a cheater.
Furthermore, many cheaters sell their services to players looking to climb the ranks quickly. From RIOT’s point of view, it doesn’t want an illegitimate real world trading market being attached to one of its products.
Equally, this Valorant update will see players affected by cheating have their rating re-calibrated. This should both demotivate accomplices and lower the frustration of legitimate players having their games ruined. Finally, placement games now have a skill rating cap making it harder to cheaters to climb up to the top ranks as fast.
Regardless of how well this update works out, RIOT is showing good intentions. Many other AAA shooters like Warzone have struggled with stopping cheaters. Arguably no product on the market has an anti-cheat system as complicated as Valorant. And if RIOT keeps up this pace, we could be seeing the first game ever made where cheating just isn’t viable.