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.
everyone is seeing the big header image on that actiblizz article, but it was looking at this bigger breakdown is what sent me into space pic.twitter.com/4U4ZKdVrUH
— austin walker (@austin_walker)
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.
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.