Activision is delaying the launch of new seasonal content in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, Call of Duty: Warzone, and Call of Duty: Mobile amid continuing protests over police brutality and the taped killing of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis.
“Now is not the time,” publisher Activision wrote on Twitter of the previously planned release of new Call of Duty content. “Right now it’s time for those speaking up for equality, justice, and change to be seen and heard. We stand alongside you.”
— Call of Duty (@CallofDuty) June 2, 2020
Activision’s delay came just hours after Sony delayed a planned press event to promote the PlayStation 5, saying that “we do not feel that right now is a time for celebration… For now, we want to stand back and allow more important voices to be heard.” And earlier in the day Monday, EA Sports delayed a planned online “celebration” of the upcoming Madden NFL 21, “because this is bigger than a game, bigger than sports, and needs all of us to stand together and commit to change.”
Game makers and gaming brands including PlayStation, Xbox, Riot Games, Naughty Dog, Warner Bros., Insomniac Games, Harmonix, and Bethesda Softworks are among those that have issued tweets using the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag and offering largely vague and non-specific support for people of color. Esports outfits including Cloud9 and Team SoloMid have also tweeted out similar statements.
The International Game Developers Association issued a statement Monday highlighting protests that “stem from frustration over failure in the United States to reform practices and policies that hurt black communities there…
“These situations compel all of us to have a level of self-examination,” the statement continues. “What is the role of the game industry during this time? What is the role of game developers? Are we making art that reflects the times? Is that our responsibility? Is the problem an issue of perspective, education, or empathy? These are the questions that we need to ask and to have answered.”
The IGDA’s Blacks in Gaming Special Interest Group plans to host a livestreamed panel “to discuss the current situation, concerns of the black game development community, and the ways to support progress and combat prejudice.” The panel will be livestreamed on the organization’s Twitch channel on Thursday, June 4 and 2pm EST.
[Update: A Cyberpunk 2077 promotional event scheduled for June 11 has been moved back to June 25. Publisher CD Projekt Red says that’s because “more important discussions are happening right now and we want them to be heard. We wholeheartedly stand against racism, intolerance, and violence. Black Lives Matter.”
Meanwhile, Humble Bundle has announced a $ 1 million fund focused on publishing games from black developers. And indie game platform Itch.io has launched a pay-what-you-want charity bundle open to all its creators, with proceeds going to the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund and Community Bail Fund.
Electronic Arts is contributing $ 1 million to the Equal Justice Initiative and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, and it’s matching employee donations made to these and other organizations. Employees will also be getting two additional paid days off for volunteering.
Square Enix has pledged $ 250,000 to Black Lives Matter and Ubisoft is donating $ 100,000 to the NAACP and Black Lives Matter. Indie publisher Devolver Digital and its employees have kicked in $ 65,000 to Black Lives Matter.]