Illustration for article titled Activision Blizzards CEO Doesnt Think Its Games Should Be Political

Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick doesn’t think his companies’ games should be used as platforms for sharing political views. He said as much an interview appearance on CNBC earlier today.

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“We’re not the operator of the world’s town halls,” Kotick, who in 2017 made 28.6 million running the video game company behind Call of Duty and Diablo, told CNBC anchor Becky Quick. “We’re the operator of the communities that allow you to have fun through the lens of a video game.”

Quick had asked Kotick how he’s grown in recent years as a CEO during a time when the public increasingly seems to look to the heads of companies like Apple and Facebook for leadership.

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“My responsibility is to make sure that our communities feel safe, secure, comfortable and satisfied and entertained,” he said. “And so I don’t—I don’t—that doesn’t convey to me the right to have a platform for a lot of political views, I don’t think. I think my responsibility is to satisfy our audiences and our stakeholders, our employees, our shareholders.”

At the same time, Kotick said he is inspired by CEOs who do show leadership in these areas.

“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.”

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Apparently he is not one of them.

Last month, Blizzard suspended Hearthstone pro Ng “Blitzchung” Wai and denied him prize winnings for saying “liberate Hong Kong” during a post-match interview. While the company ended up giving back the money and apologizing for moving “too quickly” in punishing Blitzchung, his suspension, since reduced, will still be in effect for six months.

Kotaku staff writer. You can reach him at ethan.gach@kotaku.com

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DISCUSSION

“I don’t want politics in my games” is, in of itself, a political statement. If Kotick says he doesn’t want politics in the games Activision-Blizzard makes, consider why he doesn’t want you to think about policy in the games his corporation publishes.

Consider also how Kotick props up Acti-Blizz games as apolitical, in spite of the fact that Activision publishes Call of Duty, which is best summed up as “an extremely pro-American propaganda tool made in the interest of the US government, even to the point that the game in which a major multi-trillion dollar corporation was the bad guy, the American military was still the good guy. Not to mention the game in which all of Earth’s governments have united in the face of a common enemy, but nearly everyone still has an American accent and organizes around a decidedly American-looking military to combat a Russian-looking military.”