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Blizzard President J. Allen Brack Is Leaving The Company In The Wake Of Lawsuit Allegations – Forbes

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In the first major shakeup since California filed a lawsuit alleging the mistreatment of women at Activision Blizzard, current Blizzard President J. Allen Brack is leaving the company, as told to staff today, first reported by Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier.

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Brack will be replaced by Jen Oneal and Mike Ybarra who will both co-lead Blizzard going forward, and Activision Blizzard president Daniel Alegre said Brack’s departure is to “pursue new opportunities.” The lawsuit was not mentioned at all in the announcement email.

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While J. Allen Brack was not accused of any misconduct himself involving women in the lawsuit, he was personally named as an executive who allegedly did not take enough action when these issues were reported. From the text:

“Numerous complaints about unlawful harassment, discrimination, and retaliation were made to Defendants’ human resources personnel and executives, including to Blizzard Entertainment’s President J. Allen Brack. But, Defendants failed to take effective remedial measure in response to these complaints. “

Brack was specifically cited as failing to properly punish another named party, Alex Afrasiabi, for misconduct, which lead to further misconduct. Again, from the lawsuit:

“J. Allen Brack, President of Blizzard Entertainment, allegedly had multiple conversations with Afrasiabi about his drinking and that he had been ‘too friendly’ towards female employees at company events but gave Afrasiabi a slap on the wrist (ie. verbal counseling) in response to these incidents. Subsequently, Afrasiabi continue to make unwanted advances toward female employees, including grabbing a female employee’s hand and inviting her to his hotel room and groping another woman.”

The bulk of the email Activision Blizzard sent out is extolling the virtues of Oneal and Ybarra, two well-respected team members who have been in the industry for decades. Jen Oneal used to lead Vicarious Visions and Mike Ybarra formerly worked at Xbox before coming to Blizzard.

This massive shakeup also comes at the forefront of the Activision Blizzard earnings call later today, where no doubt the lawsuit and the subsequent corporate/employee reaction to it will be a prime topic of discussion. Activision Blizzard has all but halted promotion for their games with a near-total social media shutdown as all this has unfolded, nor have made moves to start or continue promoting key releases like the next Call of Duty (this is the latest a new game in the series hasn’t been revealed) and Blizzard’s Diablo 2 Resurrected out in under two months.

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Activision’s stock has dropped in the wake of the lawsuit filing, though remains higher than its yearly low. It’s unknown how investors may react to Brack’s departure or what Blizzard has to say on the earnings call today. Last week, Activision Blizzard employees staged a walkout and issued a number of demands, but the company had been relatively silent about it until now. Not that Brack’s departure is linked to protests, and given his prominence in the lawsuit filing, seems likely to have happened regardless.

More to come as this story continues to unfold. Will update with a statement from Activision Blizzard if we hear one ahead of the earnings call.

Update: Here is the statement from Blizzard, which includes the following from J. Allen Brack. Again, nothing resembling an apology.

“I am confident that Jen Oneal and Mike Ybarra will provide the leadership Blizzard needs to realize its full potential and will accelerate the pace of change. I anticipate they will do so with passion and enthusiasm and that they can be trusted to lead with the highest levels of integrity and commitment to the components of our culture that make Blizzard so special.”

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‘Overwatch 2’ Ramattra Gameplay Trailer Shows The Transforming Tank In Action – Forbes

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Season 2 of Overwatch 2 is just 10 days away. It’ll add another hero to the fold in the form of Ramattra, an omnic tank. To kick off a week of Season 2 hype, Blizzard has provided the first official look at Ramattra in action with a gameplay trailer.

We already knew that Ramattra would able to transform between two forms, and we get some sense of that in the trailer. He has a barrier he can project, in a similar vein to Sigma (though it’ll likely work in a different way).

One of his abilities seems to be a gravity well that can pull airborne enemies to the ground. Used properly, it could be an effective way to make a Pharah, Echo, Wrecking Ball, Mercy or perhaps even a wall-riding Lúcio an easier target to take out.

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In his larger form, Ramattra can mitigate damage from the front by crossing his arms (similar to Doomfist’s Power Block). It looks like his attacks are more melee-based in that form too. As for Ramattra’s Ultimate, it seems like he deals area-of-effect damage while being able to use his other abilities.

We’ll find out more details about Ramattra and his kit in a developer update video that will premiere tomorrow. Next week, we’ll get the first gameplay trailer for Season 2, the content roadmap for the season and a reveal of the new map. There’s a lot to look forward to.

For more news and updates on Overwatch 2 and other games, follow my Forbes blog! You’ll get a weekly round-up email that includes everything I publish. You’d be doing me a solid, too — it’s a great way to support me and my work at no cost.

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Fido, Virgin add $45/50GB plan for Black Friday

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Fido and Virgin Plus have joined Koodo in offering a $45/mo 50GB Black Friday plan.

Like Koodo, both Fido and Virgin offer a $65/mo plan with 50GB of data plus a $20/mo bill credit for 24 months. That means customers pay $45/mo for two years with the plan.

The plans are only available for new activations and hardware upgrades, which means if you’re with one of these providers, you’ll need to swap to another one.

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You can check out the Fido offer here and the Virgin offer here.

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Hilarious Video Shows Psyduck Startling A Pokemon Scarlet and Violet Player While Taking A Photograph

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One Pokemon Scarlet and Violet fan has shared a funny video that shows a Psyduck appearing out of nowhere to startle a player who was snapping a photo. Pokemon Scarlet and Violet are among the best selling titles of the year, despite the mixed reviews from fans and critics globally. The gameplay and multiplayer mode of the latest Pokemon games receive praise and backlash for the myriad performance issues.


Because of these technical problems, Pokemon Scarlet and Violet are getting review bombed, but some fans are embracing them. Glitches are common in the latest titles, and players have reported seeing some truly bizarre things in their playthroughs. Some gamers have seen a grotesque glitch in Pokemon Scarlet and Violet, whereas a random Psyduck bug is also common. Psyduck makes the headlines again after a player spotted it in rather unusual circumstances.

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Reddit user metronn uploaded a video that shows their funny encounter with the duck Pokemon. The user intended to photograph a scenic view of Pokemon Scarlet and Violet‘s region of Paldea. Paldea is a brand-new area introduced in Pokemon Scarlet and Violet, which is based on the Iberian peninsula and has diverse geographic features like mountains, forests, and several lakes. In the video, the player attempts to take a picture of a serene place on the shoreside of a water body, with mountains in the background and water flowing peacefully.

After successfully capturing one side of the scenery, the player slowly moves the camera to show the surrounding areas and a few fish pocket monsters in the body of water. As the camera moves, something unusual is seen in the bottom right corner of the screen, which appears to be another Pokemon. This turns out to be a Psyduck, who appears out of nowhere and is standing right next to the user, who was seemingly unaware of its presence. The original poster is understandably startled by seeing the Psyduck, who apparently photobombed their efforts to take a beautiful picture in Pokemon Scarlet and Violet.

Since its introduction in the first generation, Psyduck has established itself as one of the most famous Pokemon of all time. It has featured in almost every Pokemon game from each generation until the current ninth-gen games, Pokemon Scarlet and Violet. Psyduck is not the strongest or the fastest pocket monster, but still, it has millions of fans around the world who are excited to see it in unusual circumstances.

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