Activision Blizzard’s numerous accusations of misconduct and abuse have made the company the target of lawsuits and public outcry. Now, The Game Awards is preventing the publisher’s presence at the Dec. 9 event outside of its existing nominations.
Geoff Keighley, the executive producer and announcer of The Game Awards, tweeted on Dec. 4 that Activision Blizzard would not be a part of the Awards this year. “There is no place for abuse, harassment or predatory practices in any company or community,” he said. This means that the publisher will not be allowed to showcase any of its upcoming games, like Diablo 4 or Overwatch 2.
This comes a day after a statement on Dec. 3 where Keighley was non-committal on how the Awards would proceed with the situation. He noted his support for those bringing their stories to light, but said he did not want to take away the opportunity for developers to spotlight their games.
Despite the nominees being chosen by public voting and input from content creators, there is still an Advisory Board in charge of the event. Since Keighley’s statement, people were upset to learn Rob Kostich, the president of Activision, has a seat on the Board. The official website says the Board “is not involved in the selection of award nominees or winners and learns of the results of voting at the same time as the general public.”
The Game Awards is an annual awards ceremony highlighting the best games of the year in various categories. Running since 2014, it has become a premier event in the gaming world, not just recognizing games and developers, but also as a space for trailers and announcements of upcoming games. The show has grown exponentially in the past several years, garnering 83 million viewers in 2020.
In the 2021 Game Awards, Activision-Blizzard is nominated in two categories. Call of Duty: Warzone gained a nomination for Best Ongoing Game, given to a game for “outstanding development of ongoing content that evolves the player experience over time,”. The other award was Best Esport Game, “for the game that has delivered the best overall esports experience to players (inclusive of tournaments, community support and content updates), irrespective of genre or platform.” The Call of Duty franchise was amongst the nominees given the popularity of the COD League.