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Activision Blizzard King's Diversity Tool is a head-scratcher

ABK revealed its internal Diversity Tool, which led to confusion and concern.

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Over the past year or so, we’ve seen a lot of criticisms and allegations of sexual and racial discrimination come against Activision Blizzard King. The company has been trying to fix its public image, which led it to sharing an internal Diversity Tool that the company uses to create its characters. Unfortunately, that reveal is having the opposite effect.

Activision Blizzard King shared its Diversity Tool in a post to its website. Made in collaboration with MIT, the tool is used to create characters for video games that don’t fall into stereotypes or tokenism.

Where a lot of folks take issue with the tool is in its gamifying and numerical equating of what satisfies an arbitrary diversity quota. In the provided graphs, we see features like race, age, and gender identity as factors the company uses to determine how diverse a character is. There’s even a point scale based on different traits and attributes. A “slim + curvy” body type is worth zero points, while being Arab is worth seven.

abk diversity tool

It’s not hard to see why audiences are more than upset with ABK’s Diversity Tool. Developers and publishers are often criticized as seeing diversity as no more than a quota to be met, rather than something that should naturally happen through unbiased and non-discriminatory hiring practices. The news from Activision Blizzard King essentially reinforces all of those concerns.

News Editor

Donovan is a young journalist from Maryland, who likes to game. His oldest gaming memory is playing Pajama Sam on his mom's desktop during weekends. Pokémon Emerald, Halo 2, and the original Star Wars Battlefront 2 were some of the most influential titles in awakening his love for video games. After interning for Shacknews throughout college, Donovan graduated from Bowie State University in 2020 with a major in broadcast journalism and joined the team full-time. He is a huge Star Wars nerd and film fanatic that will talk with you about movies and games all day. You can follow him on twitter @Donimals_

From The Chatty
  • reply
    May 13, 2022 12:50 PM

    Donovan Erskine posted a new article, Activision Blizzard King's Diversity Tool is a head-scratcher

    • reply
      May 13, 2022 1:54 PM

      It's me, the Beauty and Cognitive Ability score = 0

    • reply
      May 13, 2022 2:01 PM

      Uhhh, so what's the very middle of the circle supposed to represent?

    • reply
      May 13, 2022 8:32 PM

      What’s with the King? (I will google that now but thought I’d ask)

      • Zek legacy 10 years
        reply
        May 13, 2022 8:41 PM

        Bobby Kotick, King of Activision Blizzard

    • reply
      May 13, 2022 11:51 PM

      Well it all goes back to "How do you force a racist employer to hire a person from a race they hate?"
      You can't.

      This is sort of giving them a group of applicants they HAVE to pick a hire from; the employer is still going to hate them all to different degrees, maybe they can live with one of the choices.

      Yes, I just called an unknown percentage of gamers inveterate racists.

      • reply
        May 13, 2022 11:59 PM

        "The company has been trying to fix its public image, which led it to sharing an internal Diversity Tool that the company uses to create its characters."

        It's a tool to help them when they're creating new characters. Not who they're going to hire.

        • reply
          May 14, 2022 12:32 AM

          I know. Characters the racist gamers will hate for various reasons but will have to pick from nonetheless.

    • reply
      May 14, 2022 12:02 AM

      A big success of Overwatch is the great characters. It might make people uncomfortable to see the nuts and bolts under the surface like this, but tools and the attitudes behind them like this probably do work.

    • reply
      May 14, 2022 12:03 AM

      Candy Crush 2 will feature a pansexual, fat, non-binary eskimo in a wheelchair.

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