The video game industry is plagued at various levels by overwork, pay inequities, sexism, and other associated problems. However, the ongoing situation at Activision Blizzard is extraordinary because the allegations just keep coming, in graphic and disturbing detail, including CEO Bobby Kotick reportedly threatening to have an assistant killed over a decade ago. In a rare move that reflects the severity of the situation, both Xbox and PlayStation have spoken with their employees about their concerns with the publisher. Now, via Fanbyte, Nintendo of America is speaking up about Activision Blizzard as well: NOA president Doug Bowser has reportedly sent an email to all employees calling the ongoing reports “distressing and disturbing.”
“Along with all of you, I’ve been following the latest developments with Activision Blizzard and the ongoing reports of sexual harassment and toxicity at the company,” Bowser said. “I find these accounts distressing and disturbing. They run counter to my values as well as Nintendo’s beliefs, values and policies.” He further said that Nintendo is “in contact with Activision, have taken action and are assessing others.” What exactly these actions are is unknown, but Nintendo is apparently in contact with the ESA (Entertainment Software Association) to firm up its stances on workplace harassment and abuse among ESA members. (Activision is an ESA member.)
The Nintendo of America president reportedly reiterated that Nintendo is committed to inclusivity and expects all its partners (such as Activision Blizzard) to behave accordingly. “Every company in the industry must create an environment where everyone is respected and treated as equals, and where all understand the consequences of not doing so,” Bowser said. This email was sent not only to direct NOA employees but to first-party development studios like Retro Studios and Next Level Games.