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What Activision Blizzard Is Losing, Besides The PR War – Forbes

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Yesterday, a controversial article made the rounds from VentureBeat about how Activision Blizzard was losing the “PR war” in the wake of horrific allegations about the mistreatment of women at the company over the years. Author Dean Takahashi has since apologized for the perception that he was being insensitive to the victims, and explained he was trying to analyze the situation on the business side of things.

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I think the main issue is framing this as a “PR problem,” which at the very least, the headline did, even if the article parsed it differently. But if we’re talking about what this current scandal could do to Activision as a company, the implications could reach far beyond poor perception of the corporate entity or its CEO, Bobby Kotick, who let me tell you, has not exactly been winning any PR wars for a very long time now.

The stories that are coming out about Activision Blizzard’s history with women are nauseating, and require content warnings for abuse and suicide. There were many terrible stories in the original lawsuit filling, but the one that stood out there was of a woman who died by suicide on a business trip, who had been in a relationship with a superior and had in the past, had photos of her genitals circulated around by employees at a holiday party.

Since that story broke, others outside of the lawsuit have emerged, including one where an Activision Blizzard employee was convinced of setting up cameras in bathrooms, and another where a woman was asked if she “liked to be penetrated” at job fair by a recruiter with the company.

What has been revealed to this point about the environment at Activision Blizzard has raised real moral questions for potential employees, journalists and fans.

As the original VentureBeat piece said, Activision Blizzard currently has thousands of open jobs they need to fill to actually keep making video games, and with the entire industry on a hiring spree, after this, it’s hard to know why many people would specifically seek out a job there, knowing everything that’s gone on. Especially women, which could make their current diversity problems even worse.

For journalists, we face the question of the moral responsibility of covering future releases from Activision Blizzard. Every outlet is handling this differently as we try to parse the behavior of management with the on-the-ground employees who are often victims, and who might be hurt more through blackouts or bans. Some outlets have said outright they’ll be covering Activision Blizzard games less, or not at all. What happens when say, hypothetically, the big, splashy Call of Duty Game Informer cover no longer materializes this year because of the objections of staff?

Fans are asking themselves something similar. It is always hard to hold “fan boycotts” to their word as they rarely pan out on a larger scale, but these allegations are so significant and severe that at least anecdotally, there have been reports of many people say, cancelling their long-term WoW subscription in protest. Some content creators have vowed to stop covering the games, even if they’re their bread and butter.

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This is all happening at an extremely precarious moment for Activision Blizzard, the Blizzard side especially. Call of Duty has a cushion, given how well it sells, but it is supposed to reveal its new game soon, and it is now forced to do so in the midst of this. For Blizzard, this is a developer that is the main focus of many of these allegations, and even before this, has slipped in the eyes of fans as a top tier studio. They need to roll out Diablo 2 Resurrected this fall, and they’re continuing to work on Overwatch 2, which has raised questions about “performative” inclusivity with its diverse characters juxtaposed with Blizzard’s treatment of women and minorities. Diablo 4, still years away, is a must-win for them, but that team is full of many “old guard” veterans that were around when many of these most severe allegations were taking place.

The moral side of this is the business side, in many ways. Because of its treatment of women, Activision Blizzard will find it harder to hire employees, gain coverage for its games and convince fans to buy them over alternatives. Activision Blizzard and Kotick have already been on thin ice with many for years, but these allegations have splintered it, if not shattered it. And yet, a main problem remains that the only people that really seem to matter are the company’s investors. Stocks have dropped this past week, yes, but are still 10 points above the yearly low for Activision stock. This hasn’t produced some massive crash, and the corporate response to the lawsuit seems designed to placate investors, not employees or fans. Bobby Kotick only issued his first statement about any of this after the stock finally started to drop, and did so on the Activision investor page, even if it was addressed to his employees.

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Things have quieted down a bit with no more corporate statements, even after the recent walkout by Activision Blizzard employees that does not seem to have produced a meaningful response by management. As for the longer term implications, we won’t know how that shakes out until they get back to actually trying to launch new games this fall, and we’ll see how that’s received.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

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Pick up my sci-fi novels the Herokiller series, and The Earthborn Trilogy, which is also on audiobook.

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‘Genshin Impact’ Sumeru Gift Codes For Free Primogems, 3.0 Character Banners, Release Date – Forbes

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At long, long last, Genshin Impact just wrapped up its new 3.0 special program, revealing a whole lot of new information about the new region, the new element, Dendro, new characters and of course, there are free goodies if you hung out and wached the stream. Or even if you didn’t, I have them right here.

We’ll just get these out of the way first, here are the three gift codes for free primogems and other materials that you can redeem here. These ones are only good for 24 hours, I believe, so you better hurry.

  • 8ANCKTWYVRD5 – 100 Primogems and 10 Mystic Ore
  • EA7VKTFHU9VR – 100 Primogems and 5 Hero’s Wit
  • KT7DKSFGCRWD – 100 Primogems and 50,000 Mora

Past that, the most pressing information is probably the release date for Genshin Impact’s Sumeru update, which is August 24, 2022.

We also were told about the first two character banners for 3.0, which will include three total Sumeru characters with only one five star. Those are:

  • Phase 1 – Tighnari (5 star), Zhongli (5 star), Collei (4 star)
  • Phase 2 – Ganyu (5 star), Kokomi (5 star), Dori (4 star)

While other Sumeru characters were shown or teased onscreen, it will be deeper into the 3.0 patch series before we get to those, which is not unexpected, given that’s how Inazuma worked, and we ended up getting new Inazuma characters for essentially an entire year. And we’re probably still not done.

Sumeru is probably going to end up being the most significant addition to the game to date, because unlike Inazuma, it’s not just a new region, it also has an entirely new element being added to the game for the first time, Dendro. While Dendro has cropped up here and there among a few enemy types, this is the first time we as players can wield it ourselves, and these new characters will be our first introduction to the concept. Like all the elements, you can probably have attack/defense/support focused teammates using the element, and we’ll have to spend some time digging deep into all the new characters to find out exactly how best to use them in their new roles with this new elemental type supporting your team.

Genshin Impact continues to generate massive amounts of revenue, and I have to imagine the Sumeru region is going to boost that even further, even in the face of new rivals like Tower of Fantasy that has just arrived this month. Genshin is the gold standard at the moment and it’s going to be hard to compete with it as it expands to seven massive regions over the next few years.

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Pick up my sci-fi novels the Herokiller series and The Earthborn Trilogy.

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Poll: Galaxy Z Fold 4, Z Flip 4, Watch 5, Buds 2 Pro — what are you most interested in buying? – Android Central

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Samsung’s latest Galaxy devices were just announced, and they’re already making waves. The company’s latest foldables offer plenty of refinements on last year’s models, the smartwatches bring bigger batteries for a new target audience, and the earbuds promise to take active noise cancellation to another level.

Now that Samsung’s devices are finally out there, we want to know which device you’re most looking forward to getting your hands on.

Which new Galaxy device are you most interested in buying?

If you’ve been holding out on Samsung’s foldable smartphones, now might be the time to consider them. For instance, the new Galaxy Z Fold 4 is thinner (and wider) than ever, packs a fast new processor, and gets an upgraded camera array.

Be sure to check out Nick Sutrich’s Galaxy Z Fold 4 camera review to find out how it stacks up to the best foldable phone of 2021.

Meanwhile, the Galaxy Z Flip 4 has the same new processor, a bigger battery, and many color combinations to choose from, letting buyers design their phones to match their style.

For anyone looking for a smartwatch, the new Galaxy Watch 5 series gets a boost in battery life, with Samsung claiming up to 50 hours for its standard watches and a whipping 80 hours for the new Pro. In fact, Samsung says the new Galaxy Watch 5 Pro is ideal for anyone with a love for the outdoors, thanks to its tough titanium chassis and Sapphire Crystal display.

Read up on why our Andrew Myrick decided to trade his Galaxy Watch 4 Classic for the new Watch 5 Pro.

Lastly, Samsung announced the latest Galaxy Buds 2 Pro with a new design and improved ANC, enough to block out most outside noise.

All Samsungs devices are currently available for preorder and will hit store shelves later this month on August 26. Please drop a comment on our Twitter and Facebook accounts and let us know which device you’re most interested in buying and why.

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How to Enable Encryption in Facebook Messenger – OSXDaily

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Facebook Messenger

By default, communications through Facebook Messenger are not end-to-end encrypted, which means that theoretically another party could retrieve sensitive information from the chat if they were nefariously minded. It also means that the conversations are basically wide open for reading by Facebook and whoever has access to Facebook data.

If you’re a privacy buff (then why are you using Facebook, which is the antithesis of privacy?) you may be interested in enabling end-to-end encryption on your Facebook Messenger chats. End-to-end encryption makes it so that nobody, including Facebook, can read the content of your messenger conversations.

Curiously, Facebook does not have a global end-to-end encrypted messaging setting, which probably demonstrates how enthusiastic they are to not be able to read your messages, so you have to enable this one by one on a per conversation basis.

How to Enable End-to-End Encryption in Facebook Messenger for iPhone

  1. Open the Messenger app if you haven’t done so already, then tap on the conversation you want to encrypt
  2. In the messenger thread, now tap on the persons profile at the very top of the screen
  3. Look for “Go to secret conversation” under the More actions section
  4. Tap back, then repeat with other conversations you want to end-to-end encrypt as desired

Now that you have end-to-end encryption enabled for a particular Facebook Messenger conversation, you can be somewhat more confident that nobody is going to be creeping in on your conversation. But it’s still Facebook, which is not exactly a bastion of privacy given that you and your information are their product, so how much you trust them as a secure platform for communication is entirely up to you.

If you’re serious about having secure conversations that are encrypted and less likely to be snooped upon by who knows what and who, you might consider using something like Signal, which is always end-to-end encrypted, and offers other nice features like disappearing messages too. Given that Signal’s entire business model is focused on security, privacy, and encryption, it’s probably more reasonable to trust something like that, compared to a company like Meta/Facebook whose entire business model is gathering details about you and selling your information.

Don’t forget to check out more Facebook Messenger tips if this strikes your fancy!

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