Publisher Activision Blizzard has released a tool to measure the diversity of characters in their game. For this, they received many negative reactions and even their own employees distanced themselves from the tool. In the new episode of the MeinMMO podcast we talk about the reasons.
This is the topic: On May 12th, Activision Blizzard published a blog post in which they presented a tool to calculate the diversity of characters in video games. It is based on a system that gives characters more or less points depending on how diverse they are.
For example, the sniper Ana received 7 points in the “Race” category for her Egyptian origins and a further 4 points in “Physical flaws” for her missing eye. On the other hand, there were 0 diversity points for her sexuality, since she is heterosexual.
What was conceived as a potentially useful and helpful tool received a lot of criticism and misunderstanding. Users asked, “What does it even mean that a character has a higher race than others?”
Blizzard employees distanced themselves from the tool, and Overwatch developers stressed that it wasn’t used during the shooter’s development. The whole situation turned into another PR disaster for the publisher.
Schuhmann, Leya and Marko, who is currently writing a doctoral thesis in the field of diversity in video games, are dedicated to the topic.
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