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Report: Nintendo criticizes Activision's actions in internal memo

Update: Doug Bowser told employees that accounts of alleged behavior at Activision Blizzard were "distressing and disturbing."

Bryant Francis, Senior Editor

November 22, 2021

2 Min Read
Nintendo's logo

Activsion Blizzard has landed the game industry's most embarrassing hat trick--Nintendo's Doug Bowser has apparently joined Xbox and PlayStation bosses Phil Spencer and Jim Ryan in sending private memos to employees criticizing Activision Blizzard's alleged culture of sexual harassment and discrimination.

News of this e-mail comes from the folks at Fanbyte, who write that the e-mail was sent out last Friday to all Nintendo of America employees (including studios like Retro Games and Next-Level Games).

That means leadership for all three major platform holders that Activision Blizzard does business with have now criticized its handling of the situation in the week since an explosive Wall Street Journal report alleged that CEO Bobby Kotick was an active participant in said culture. 

Bowser's e-mail apparently began with the following statement. "Along with all of you, I’ve been following the latest developments with Activision Blizzard and the ongoing reports of sexual harassment and toxicity at the company."

"I find these accounts distressing and disturbing. They run counter to my values as well as Nintendo’s beliefs, values and policies.”

Like Ryan, Bowser implied that Nintendo representatives have been in contact with Activision Blizzard. His e-mail doesn't include specifics, but does apparently contain one eyebrow-raising mention of the Electronic Software Association--a group that both Nintendo and Activision share membership in. 

Bowser says that the ESA should hold membership to higher standards, and that it's been apparently working with the organization to tighten its membership standards. "Every company in the industry must create an environment where everyone is respected and treated as equals, and where all understand the consequences of not doing so," he wrote.

Activision Blizzard draws less of its revenue from the Nintendo Switch, but something seems to have shifted if last week's Wall Street Journal report has moved the CEOs of all three major game console companies to speak internally. Bowser's message seems to show that anger at Activision Blizzard's failure to protect its employees is spreading further and further.

Update (11/23): A Nintendo spokesperson confirmed to Game Developer that Bowser did send the e-mail viewed by Fanbyte. Unlike Microsoft, they specifically added that the company did not have any other public comment at this time.

About the Author(s)

Bryant Francis

Senior Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Bryant Francis is a writer, journalist, and narrative designer based in Boston, MA. He currently writes for Game Developer, a leading B2B publication for the video game industry. His credits include Proxy Studios' upcoming 4X strategy game Zephon and Amplitude Studio's 2017 game Endless Space 2.

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