Blizzard Reveals Plan to “Rebuild Trust,” Has Exciting Things to Announce Starting Next Week

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Since the surprise announcement that Microsoft is buying Activision Blizzard, we’ve heard a fair amount from the Activision side of the company, but what about the Blizzard contingent? People are eager to hear from them, particularly considering Blizzard seems to have been disproportionally responsible for the toxic workplace allegations levied against Acti-Blizz as a whole. Well, Blizzard boss Mike Ybarra has issued a new state of the studio blog post, in which he outlines steps to “rebuild trust” and hints at some future plans.

On the subject of building trust, Ybarra reveals a number of new positions have been created in order to oversee Blizzard culture. He also promises that executive compensation (including his own) will be tied to successfully cleaning up. You can check out Ybarra’s bullet points, below.

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  • We’re measuring our executive and management teams directly against culture improvement. This means their (and my own) success and compensation will directly depend on our overall success in creating a safe, inclusive, and creative work environment at Blizzard.
  • We’re dedicating more full-time roles and resources to improving our culture. All too often, this important effort falls to employee resource groups, filled with people who already have full-time jobs. A few of the leadership positions we’ve established for this new team include:
    • a Culture leader who will help us maintain the best aspects of what we have today, and change and evolve where needed to ensure everyone brings their best self to Blizzard
    • a new organizational leader for Human Resources who will build trust, empower our teams, and help foster a safe, positive work environment for everyone
    • a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I) leader solely focused on our progress across multiple efforts in this area
  • We are committed to staffing these teams as a priority.
  • We tripled the size of our compliance and investigation teams and have articulated clear accountability for unacceptable behavior. This applies to all employees at Blizzard, including leadership and management.
  • We have shared representation data internally with our teams and have set goals around improvement across these metrics.
  • We’ve put in place an upward feedback program so that employees have confidence in evaluating management, and we will use this to measure the quality and effectiveness of our managers.

But what about the actual games? Well, Ybarra reiterates that Blizzard “needs to deliver content to our players on a more regular basis” and promises to announce some “exciting things,” with first info coming next week.

The sale of Activision Blizzard to Microsoft was largely put into motion when California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) filed suit against the former company, alleging widespread gender-based discrimination and sexual harassment at the Call of Duty publisher. You can get a lot more detail on the still-unfolding story here.

Blizzard probably stands to benefit more than anybody from the Microsoft purchase, so hopefully Ybarra can get the studio back in shape so they can actually take advantage of this situation. We shall see.

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