Activision Blizzard will pay $54 million to settle a gender discrimination and harassment lawsuit brought against the company in 2021.
Recently acquired by Microsoft, Activision Blizzard has come under a great deal of scrutiny in recent years, not only due to concerns of potential monopoly-building but also as a result of repeated allegations of sexism - both of which have resulted in lawsuits for the gaming giant.
However, it looks as though a 2021 case raised by the California Civil Rights Department (CRD) has finally come to a head, with both parties willing to settle out of court. Activision Blizzard is set to pay roughly $54 million and also take on "new obligations" when it comes to policy surrounding discrimination (via Kotaku).
Activision Blizzard released the following statement: "We are gratified that we have reached an agreement with the California Civil Rights Department (CRD) today [...] We appreciate the importance of the issues addressed in this agreement and we are dedicated to fully implementing all the new obligations we have assumed as part of it."
The announcement went on to address the allegations of gender-based harassment, pay disparity, and discrimination. "We are also gratified that the CRD has agreed to file an amended complaint that entirely withdraws its 2021 claims alleging widespread and systemic workplace harassment at Activision Blizzard."
As to what we might expect vis-à-vis changes at Activision Blizzard, the CRD released a press release of its own. "Under the agreement, which is subject to court approval, Activision Blizzard will take additional steps to help ensure fair pay and promotion practices at the company and provide monetary relief to women who were employees or contract workers in California between October 12, 2015[,] and December 31, 2020."
Though both sides have avoided a more protracted legal battle, it's clear that Activision Blizzard has much to do if it wants to rebuild trust.
Activision Blizzard is famous for Call of Duty, a series that has given us some of the best FPS games of the last two decades. World of Warcraft, one of the best MMORPGs, is also an Activision Blizzard property.
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Cat Bussell is a Staff Writer at TechRadar Gaming. Hailing from the crooked spires of London, Cat is an experienced writer and journalist. As seen on Wargamer.com, TheGamer.com, and Superjumpmagazine.com, Cat is here to bring you coverage from all corners of the video game world. An inveterate RPG maven and strategy game enjoyer, Cat is known for her love of rich narratives; both story-driven and emergent.
Before migrating to the green pastures of games journalism, Cat worked as a political advisor and academic. She has three degrees and has studied and worked at Cambridge University, University College London, and Queen Mary University of London. She's also been an art gallery curator, an ice cream maker, and a cocktail mixologist. This crash course in NPC lifestyles uniquely qualifies her to pick apart only the juiciest video games for your reading pleasure.
Cat cut her teeth on MMOs in the heyday of World of Warcraft before giving in to her love of JRPGs and becoming embedded in Final Fantasy XIV. When she's not doing that, you might find her running a tabletop RPG or two, perhaps even voluntarily.