Today Activision Blizzard fulfilled its daily oopsie quota by blogging about how the publisher’s subsidiaries have apparently been using a special tool to help develop more “diverse” characters. It apparently thinks it can accomplish this without, I don’t know, actually talking to or hiring marginalized developers. Why rely on pesky, fallible humans when we have powerful data to tell us we’ve reached enough Diversity Points to start a new video game culture war? Numbers do not lie. I mean look at this. It’s obvious, isn’t it? The well-designed graph tells all, clearly and calmly.
Damn, I’m glad technology let us solve racism, sexism, ableism, and every other issue facing video games. Who knew it was so easy? When former Overwatch director Jeff Kaplan said that he “would hate for the diversity to ever feel pandering, like we just had this spreadsheet with a bunch of checkboxes,” Activision Blizzard really took that to heart. Okay, not really.
I’m being sarcastic, but in many ways it’s hard to contain how galling this is. It’s not just that someone thought a problem this complex could be solved with a glorified Dungeons & Dragons character sheet that makes no goddamn sense. And it’s not just that Blizzard is in the middle of a wide number of ostensible “diversity” disasters right now, including allegations of sexual harassment, inability to recruit or retain marginalized talent, and ongoing union-related tensions.