Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard, said that the company’s games are not a platform for political perspectives (via Kotaku).
In an interview with CNBC, Kotick remarked on the influence of high-profile CEOs on public opinion. “I think there are some business people who are incredible examples of character and integrity and principle and have what you see are the great attributes of leadership, and I think that they are incredibly inspiring for me,” he said. “But I think, you know, they do have the right to articulate views and visions and voices about government and policy and politics, and I love engaging with those people.”
However, Kotick and Activision Blizzard are not counted in that camp. “We’re not the operator of the world’s town halls. We’re the operator of the communities that allow you to have fun through the lens of a video game,” he said, when queried on where he feels he stands in political debates. Kotick explained that, because video games are fun, he doesn’t have the “right” to express political opinion. “And you know, I—my responsibility is to make sure that our communities feel safe, secure, comfortable and satisfied and entertained,” he elaborated.
“I think my responsibility is to satisfy our audiences and our stakeholders, our employees, our shareholders,” Kotick continued. The CNBC posed the question to the CEO due to the controversy Activision Blizzard weathered in October. Hearthstone pro Chung “Blitzchung” Ng Wai voiced support for Hong Kong protesters in an official livestream on Blizzard Taiwan’s Twitch channel. As a result, the company elected to remove him from Grandmasters, remove his prize money, and ban him from Hearthstone for 12 months.
The sanctions were lessened, but Activision Blizzard was heavily criticised for yielding to Chinese stakeholders by its fans and its employees. The company acknowledged that it may have “moved too quickly” with its initial actions, but it maintains that its business relations with China had no impact on its choice to punish Blitzschung.