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Video Game Developer Reflects on Diversity Space Tool’s Rankings Feature

Video game DDeveloper Activision Blizzard has backtracked on a new diversity tool, cleaning up its site of references to the “ranking” feature amid backlash.

There “diversity space tool“, which would allow users to rank video game avatars according to their diversity based on criteria of sexual orientation, gender identity, ethnicity, culture, body type, age and ability, would be an “optional supplement” and “not used in active game development,” Activision Blizzard wrote on Friday amid backlash to its Thursday blog post touting the proposed ranking system in its King arm.

“We want to see ourselves represented in games, we want barriers to access lowered, and we want games to be a welcoming environment for everyone,” the game’s developer said in the update.

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“Decisions about game content have been and always will be made by the development teams” and not just by this tool “in isolation,” the developer said.

Over the past five years, 79.2% of protagonists in top-selling games have been white male avatars, according to a study from 2021 quoted in the blog post.

“An important principle for us at King is that all players should feel welcome,” said Jacqueline, King’s Globalization Project Manager. Chomatas said. “The intention is to inspire game teams not just at King, but across the Activision Blizzard King network, to think outside the box and challenge preconceptions about how characters look and behave.”

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Activision Blizzard hired a new head of diversity, equity and inclusion last month following a sexual harassment scandal.

The tool, which was developed in 2016, remains in beta testing.