This week, Activision Blizzard shared through its official blog a tool nicknamed Diversity Space Method which, as its name suggests, is used to “measure” conventionality of a character based on characteristics such as their culture, their body or their gender. Taking some of the Overwatch heroes as an example, for example, we find that Torbjörn isn’t especially challenging in terms of sexual orientation or ethnicity because he’s a straight white male; but he is more inclusive if we take into account his advanced age, his short stature or the fact that he is capable of fighting with one less arm.
The tool in question, designed by the King subsidiary (authors of Candy Crush) has been in operation since 2016 following an update of the entry; and since then it has circulated through the multiple development studios of the North American publisher. “Activision Blizzard is committed to reflect diversity of its millions of players around the world through representation and inclusion in its games, as well as its employees” reads the statement. In social networks, however, the idea has been taken with a mixture of humor and disgust.
“It seems like a bad idea as opposed to the simpler, purer solution of hiring and listening to a diversity of designers. […] taking into account their opinions or allowing them to lead teams” writes the journalist Imran Khan in Fanbyte, one of the first media to echo the news. corporate natureThe mechanical, quantifiable, and dystopian nature of this approach has led fans to criticize Activision Blizzard or mock its delicate status in numerous ways.
For example, the diversity wheel has snuck into the Know Your Meme wiki in a matter of hours, while an imitation of netizens has appeared on Shindan Maker that allows you to generate your own letter just by entering your name. The judgment that follows is totally null (in my case it is quite inaccurate, at least) but it is still fun to see what comes out. Meanwhile, Bobby Kotick’s company continues to run into trouble resolving its mammoth internal inclusivity conflict.