Even in the midst of game releases like Call of Duty: Vanguard and Diablo II: Remastered Edition, Activision Blizzard has seen far better days. The company recently canceled its 2022 edition of Blizzcon, and it delayed Overwatch 2 and Diablo IV into 2023 or maybe even beyond that. And that’s on top of the consistent allegations pouring through the company over sexual harassment – including a recent report that CEO Bobby Kotick, raking in his millions, knew about a number of these allegations all along, while contributing some of his own.
And that’s probably no more frustrating to anyone that Jen Oneal, who was named co-head of Blizzard Entertainment alongside Mike Ybarra back in August. She would last in the role for two months before choosing to step down, making Ybarra the sole figure in charge.
Regarding the step down, she was looking for more of a role in which she could provide meaningful change. But it sounds like with so much happening, she ran into a great deal of frustration with the role – and the controversy surrounding it.
The Wall Street Journal, following its report on Kotick earlier today, reported that Oneal sent an email in September, expressing problems within her newfound role. She noted seeing a good amount of harassment within her 13 years with Activision, and also that Ybarra was being paid more than her, despite their equality in roles.
“It was clear that the company would never prioritize our people the right way,” Oneal wrote. “I have been tokenized, marginalized, and discriminated against.”
While she noted in her departure that “Blizzard’s best days are ahead,” this new report puts a rather big question mark on that. Nevertheless, she’ll persist in her new role with Women In Games International, where she currently serves as a board member.
As for what will become of Activision Blizzard in 2022, it’s anyone’s guess. The board has expressed faith in Kotick despite the Wall Street Journal’s scathing report; and it looks like gaming business will continue as usual, despite the setbacks with Blizzard’s releases and Blizzcon.
We wish Oneal the best moving forward in her new role.