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Activision Blizzard CEO Apologizes for ‘Tone Deaf’ Response to Harassment Lawsuit

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Top Games

Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick has apologized for the company's initial response to a lawsuit over its alleged sexist workplace.

Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick has apologized for the company’s initial response to a lawsuit over its alleged sexist workplace. / Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick published a letter to employees Wednesday apologizing for the company’s public response to a lawsuit alleging ubiquitous sexual harassment and discrimination at the company.

The letter, published via Activision’s investor relations website, describes the company’s initial response “tone deaf.”

“It is imperative that we acknowledge all perspectives and experiences and respect the feelings of those who have been mistreated in any way,” Kotick wrote. “I am sorry that we did not provide the right empathy and understanding.

The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing sued Blizzard last week for harboring a male-dominated, sexist culture in which employees were frequently the targets of sexual harassment, passed over for promotion, and underpaid relative to their male colleagues.

Blizzard initially called the suit an example of “irresponsible behavior from unaccountable State bureaucrats,” saying the content of the suit was distorted at best and false at worst. More than 2,000 employees have since signed a letter to management condemning that statement.

Now, Kotick says he has asked law firm WilmerHale to review Activision Blizzard’s policies and procedures around respectful and inclusive work conditions. Former director of the US SEC’s Division of Enforcement Stephanie Avakian, now a member of management at WilmerHale, will lead the review, which Kotick says will start “immediately.”

“We are taking swift action to be the compassionate, caring company you came to work for and to ensure a safe environment. There is no place anywhere at our Company for discrimination, harassment, or unequal treatment of any kind.”

Kotick also committed to several steps aimed at improving conditions. The company will add senior staff and other resources to its Compliance and Employee Relations teams and host listening sessions moderated by third parties for employees to share areas for improvement.

All the managers and leaders across Activision Blizzard will be evaluated, and any employees who “impeded the integrity of our processes for evaluating claims and imposing appropriate consequences will be terminated.” That list could include employees as powerful as Blizzard president J. Allen Brack, one of many named in the lawsuit who knew about sexist behavior and failed to sufficiently address it.

Furthermore, the company will add compliance resources to ensure hiring managers are looking at diverse candidate slates for open positions.

Kotick also said Activision Blizzard would remove in-game content described as “inappropriate.” He did not provide a strict definition for what would count as inappropriate. The World of Warcraft team made a similar pledge Tuesday, likely planning to remove characters and items in the game named for Alex Afrasiabi, a former employee named as a serial harasser in the lawsuit.

It’s worth noting Kotick’s letter comes after an $8 drop in Activision Blizzard’s stock price, from around $90 per share to a low of $82. Kotick himself owns 4 million shares, amounting to a $32 million loss in value. Since his letter’s publication, the stock price has risen back up to around $86 per share.

Blizzard employees plan to protest management’s response to the suit with a walkout of the company’s Irvine, California offices to take place Wednesday.

Kotick’s full letter can be read below:

This has been a difficult and upsetting week.

I want to recognize and thank all those who have come forward in the past and in recent days. I so appreciate your courage. Every voice matters – and we will do a better job of listening now, and in the future.

Our initial responses to the issues we face together, and to your concerns, were, quite frankly, tone deaf.

It is imperative that we acknowledge all perspectives and experiences and respect the feelings of those who have been mistreated in any way. I am sorry that we did not provide the right empathy and understanding.

Many of you have told us that active outreach comes from caring so deeply for the Company. That so many people have reached out and shared thoughts, suggestions, and highlighted opportunities for improvement is a powerful reflection of how you care for our communities of colleagues and players – and for each other. Ensuring that we have a safe and welcoming work environment is my highest priority. The leadership team has heard you loud and clear.

We are taking swift action to be the compassionate, caring company you came to work for and to ensure a safe environment. There is no place anywhere at our Company for discrimination, harassment, or unequal treatment of any kind.

We will do everything possible to make sure that together, we improve and build the kind of inclusive workplace that is essential to foster creativity and inspiration.

I have asked the law firm WilmerHale to conduct a review of our policies and procedures to ensure that we have and maintain best practices to promote a respectful and inclusive workplace. This work will begin immediately. The WilmerHale team will be led by Stephanie Avakian, who is a member of the management team at WilmerHale and was most recently the Director of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission’s Division of Enforcement.

We encourage anyone with an experience you believe violates our policies or in any way made you uncomfortable in the workplace to use any of our many existing channels for reporting or to reach out to Stephanie. She and her team at WilmerHale will be available to speak with you on a confidential basis and can be reached at [email protected] or 202-247-2725. Your outreach will be kept confidential. Of course, NO retaliation will be tolerated.

We are committed to long-lasting change. Effective immediately, we will be taking the following actions:

  1. Employee Support. We will continue to investigate each and every claim and will not hesitate to take decisive action. To strengthen our capabilities in this area we are adding additional senior staff and other resources to both the Compliance team and the Employee Relations team.
  2. Listening Sessions. We know many of you have inspired ideas on how to improve our culture. We will be creating safe spaces, moderated by third parties, for you to speak out and share areas for improvement.
  3. Personnel Changes. We are immediately evaluating managers and leaders across the Company. Anyone found to have impeded the integrity of our processes for evaluating claims and imposing appropriate consequences will be terminated.
  4. Hiring Practices. Earlier this year I sent an email requiring all hiring managers to ensure they have diverse candidate slates for all open positions. We will be adding compliance resources to ensure that our hiring managers are in fact adhering to this directive.
  5. In-game Changes. We have heard the input from employee and player communities that some of our in-game content is inappropriate. We are removing that content.

Your well-being remains my priority and I will spare no company resource ensuring that our company has the most welcoming, comfortable, and safe culture possible.

You have my unwavering commitment that we will improve our company together, and we will be the most inspiring, inclusive entertainment company in the world.

Yours sincerely,

Bobby

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Source: https://www.dbltap.com/posts/activision-blizzard-ceo-apologizes-for-tone-deaf-response-to-harassment-lawsuit-01fbpr9pgf06?utm_source=RSS

Esports

Where to Collect Triple S Sneakers in Fortnite

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Fortnite

Image courtesy of Epic Games

Collect some Triple S sneakers in Fortnite to snag a brand new cosmetic.

A new collaboration has hit Fortnite Chapter 2 Season 8, and it’s been causing quite a stir. TheBalenciaga crossover has brought high fashion to Fortnite and vice versa, having recently launched a line of Fortnite inspired clothing at some eye-watering prices. In-game, though, players have the chance to complete a few objectives in order to earn some cosmetic rewards.

Once such mission tasks players with collecting some Triple S sneakers in order to earn the Knights Look spray. It’s worth noting that this quest doesn’t take place in the famed Battle Royale mode, instead players will need to hop into Creative to find these sneakers.

The quest takes place in the Strange Times featured hub. To access this, players will need to change the game mode to Creative. The code for the featured hub is 9106-1254-1261.

On the Creative island, players will see that a particular area has been taken over by the collaboration, with an area mocked up to look like a Balenciaga store. Scattered around the store, players will find glowing, black S sneakers. Players will need to collect 40 of these sneakers in order to complete the quest.

The sneakers can be found all over the area, largely on shelves and tables. Be sure to check both inside and outside of the store, as well as any corners which the sneakers could be hiding. There’s plently about so players should be able to collect 40 sneakers with ease. Once 40 have been collected, the Knights Look spray will be earned and added to your locker.

PlatoAi. Web3 Reimagined. Data Intelligence Amplified.
Click here to access.

Source: https://www.dbltap.com/posts/where-to-collect-triple-s-sneakers-in-fortnite-01fg6e754rfj?utm_source=RSS

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Esports

All new Held Items in Pokémon UNITE: Season 2

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Pokémon UNITE’s mobile launch has given TiMi Studio and The Pokémon Company a chance to put a fresh coat of paint on the previously Nintendo Switch exclusive free-to-play MOBA. This means that the big 1.2 update for the game was packed full of new content, features, and more. 

One area that the developers decided to expand on was UNITE’s item offerings, adding new Held Items.

Held Items are items that a Pokémon can bring up to three of into battle that will grant it various active and passive effects and boosts. Each Held Item can be upgraded using Item Enhancers, which boosts their level and effectiveness. 

These pair well with Battle Items, which are active items that a Pokémon can use multiple times to apply an instant effect that only lasts for a limited time. 

Related: Here are the Pokémon UNITE Patch 1.2 notes

The dev team wanted to “introduce fresh strategies” alongside the 1.2 balance patch, so they decided to add in three new Held Items—Razor Claw, Choice Specs, and Weakness Policy. The Choice Specs and Weakness Policy are staples of competitive Pokémon in the main series of games, while the Razor Claw is best known for raising critical hit rates. 

Now that all three items are available in UNITE, with each costing 1,000 Aeos Coins or 625 Aeos Tickets in the Aeos Emporium, here is what each does when equipped to your Pokémon of choice. 

Choice Specs

Image via TiMi Studio

An item that increases the damage of moves by a minimum of 40 base damage when they hit. The higher a Pokémon’s Special Attack is, the more the Choice Specs will increase the damage. 

  • Special Attack increased by 39

Razor Claw

Image via TiMi Studio

After a Pokémon holding the Razor Claw uses a move, its next attack deals a minimum of 10 more base damage. The higher a Pokémon’s Attack, the more the damage increases. 

When equipped on a melee-focused Pokémon, basic attacks will also decrease the movement of opposing Pokémon hit by them for a short period. 

  • Attack increase by 15
  • Critical Hit Rate increased by 2.1 percent

Weakness Policy

Image via TiMi Studio

Increase the holder’s Attack for a short period, by a minimum of two percent, when the Pokémon takes damage. The increase grows the more times damage is received. 

  • HP increase by 210
  • Attack increased by 15

PlatoAi. Web3 Reimagined. Data Intelligence Amplified.
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Source: https://dotesports.com/news/all-new-held-items-in-pokemon-unite-season-2

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Esports

Some players unable to claim Pokémon UNITE mobile pre-registration rewards due to new error

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With the release of Pokémon UNITE on mobile, players who download the game are set to receive a nice collection of bonus goodies thanks to the preregistration campaign that TiMi Studio and The Pokémon Company ran for the game. 

These rewards are only available to players who download the game on mobile, though anyone who has played on the Nintendo Switch can easily link their accounts and grab the rewards without playing a single match on mobile. However, there is an error keeping some players from redeeming the pre-registration rewards at all. 

According to the official Pokémon UNITE Twitter account, when loading up the Events tab from the main menu and navigating to the “Preregistration Campaign,” some players will not have the ability to claim the rewards. 

This does not mean you are not eligible to claim them, rather, it is a known error that the developers are actively working to fix. 

Related: All new Holowear in Pokémon UNITE: Season 2

Once this issue is fixed, players who were previously unable to claim the rewards should have access to the following bonuses because UNITE cracked 7.5 million preregistrations:

  • 1,000 Aeos Tickets
  • Unite License: Pikachu
  • Festival Style: Pikachu Holowear
  • 1,000 Aeos Tickets

TiMi Studio has promised to keep players informed on the status of this issue, but don’t be surprised if you login and can’t claim your rewards just yet.

PlatoAi. Web3 Reimagined. Data Intelligence Amplified.
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Source: https://dotesports.com/news/some-players-unable-to-claim-pokemon-unite-mobile-pre-registration-rewards-due-to-new-error

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Pokémon UNITE APK and OBB download links for Android

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Pokémon UNITE has finally received a true release on mobile after previous testing phases earlier in the year, and now fans can get in on the five vs. five MOBA action from the comfort of their mobile device.

For Android users, setting up Pokémon UNITE should be as simple as downloading the application from the Play Store. If you aren’t able to install through this method, you can also manually download the APK file.

You’ve got plenty to experience in Pokémon UNITE that hasn’t been available in other Pokémon games and now it can finally be played by those who lack a Nintendo Switch. Here is the process for getting started in Pokémon UNITE via APK.

Download Links

Downloading these files shouldn’t take too long as the APK is around 26 MB, with the OBB being a little larger at 155 MB. You’ll need some extra storage to install the game, though, as it requires 400 MB free on your device.

How to download Pokémon UNITE via APK

  • First, download the two files listed above onto your Android mobile device.
  • Now you’ll want to find and install the APK file. To do this you may need to enable the installation of apps from unknown sources, which can be done via Safety and Privacy settings.
  • Once you’ve installed the APK you’ll need to move both OBB files to Android > OBB > com.tencent.baiyeint.
  • You should be able to play the game normally from now on.

PlatoAi. Web3 Reimagined. Data Intelligence Amplified.
Click here to access.

Source: https://dotesports.com/news/pokemon-unite-apk-and-obb-download-links-for-android

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