Storm with an announcement? Activision Blizzard and its controversial diversity tool

Recently, executives at Activision Blizzard published a blog post introducing Diversity Space Tool: a new character design system developed by King and MIT Game Lab for more than five years, incorporating elements of diversity into localized character traits.

In collaboration with DE&I experts, the Diversity Space Tool is a measurement tool that can be used to determine how diverse a set of personality traits is and how diverse a personality’s overall representation is. The tool aims to help identify opportunities to narrate the most diverse characters and ensure that developers don’t create diverse characters just by their appearance.

This is what a Diversity Tool looks like

Overwatch heroine Anna appeared as a diversity tool. Besides the basic data, you can see that developers can enter scores from 1 to 10 in columns such as sexual orientation, gender identity, ethnicity, and socioeconomic background.

Activision Blizzard’s Diversity Space tool assigns video game character scores based on sexual orientation, social background, and cultural origin to see if the characters and their characteristics fall outside the “average”.

Source: Activision Blizzard

The tool has already been tried out by the development teams working on Call of Duty: Vanguard and Overwatch 2 to block codes, some stereotypes and exclude certain groups. The program is set to roll out internally to all Activision Blizzard studios later this year, and possibly to the rest of the video game industry. At least that’s the plan…?

Diversity tool is dismantled by society

This tool has been met with severe criticism in the community. What are some of the points in “gender” you’re supposed to say? And what does 5 points mean for “female”? What are 10 points in this case? One is puzzled that the number 5 simply stands for an indefinite or “normal” value.

Fans and industry experts alike have commented that the concept appears performative at best and encourages coding at worst. Complaints were supported by pictures of examples that seemed to reduce elements of diversity to simple numbers – and one character seemed to be considered more “cultural” or “sexually oriented” than another.

Some of this may be due to an inadequate interpretation of the system, which vaguely implies the aggregation of scores of a group of characters (Overwatch in this case) to determine which characters and traits fall under the “average” that under the rest of the occupation is determined.

Activision Blizzard responded with a statement – the tool should never have been used

The developers took to Twitter and announced that the tool, which was developed in 2016, was only tested at the beginning of development but not used at the end. right Now The updated blog post includes a note from the editorwhich reiterates the points in the AVI tweet – that the tool is intended to identify trends and areas of bias and that it is not used by active game development teams.

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