The current hot button issue of gaming news has just had its flames stoked by Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick. In an interview with CNBC, Kotick expressed that he doesn't believe Activision Blizzard's games should be used as platforms for political ideas.
"We're not the operator of the world's town halls," Kotick said. "We're the operator of the communities that allow you to have fun through the lens of a video game." CNBC anchor Becky Quick then asked Kotick how he's grown in recent times, to which Kotick stressed he's there to make sure everyone feels safe.
"My responsibility is to make sure that our communities feel safe, secure, comfortable and satisfied and entertained. And so I don't—I don't—that doesn't convey to me the right to have a platform for a lot of political views, I don't think. I think my responsibility is to satisfy our audiences and our stakeholders, our employees, our shareholders."
Kotick then noted how he looks up to CEOs that show strong leadership skills and have incredible quality of character. He seemingly forgot that Blizzard recently banned Hearthstone player Blitzchung for expressing a political idea, basically kowtowing to the Chinese government in an effort to appeal to its corporate overlords.
There's also the little fact that a mission in the recently released Call of Duty: Modern Warfare goes out of its way to attribute a real-life American war crime to Russia. In the eyes of Kotick, it seems like "a platform for political views" refers to saying you don't like Trump. It clearly has nothing to do with violating someone's basic human rights or rewriting history, two inherently political ideas.
This is another in a long line of game companies making bafflingly inept statements about "politics." Infinity Ward's Jacob Minkoff (gameplay director for Modern Warfare) stated that the game was not political prior to its release. He obviously had a change of heart later down the line. Ubisoft has also made various statements to that effect despite placing its titles in political settings.
No one is saying you have to agree with their political stance or that every game needs some kind of real-life message. It's laughable to plug your ears and pretend a game about war isn't political, though. It's also tone-deaf to say your company wants to remain apolitical while currently banning a player for pledging support to his fellow man in Hong Kong. Either you're trying to appease shareholders or you're completely clueless.