The impact of the pandemic on manufacturing and worldwide supply networks is likely most visible in the gaming industry. Both the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 are still extremely hard to come by more than a year after their release.
The gaming industry has had an incredible year. We’ve had a lot of ups and downs this year, with the COVID-19 epidemic acting as the background. The year 2021 was full of enormous stories, from the massive disclosures about Activision Blizzard to the continuous semiconductor scarcity that continues to affect production. Here are some of the most important gaming stories of the year.
While the stock shortages may have eased somewhat as we moved throughout the year, it’s hard to see evidence of that on store shelves. We have a worldwide semiconductor shortage to thank for these consoles being hard to find, and some in the industry are saying that we may be feeling the effects of this shortage for some time to come.
The debate about which major publisher is the worst remains contentious. Electronic Arts, Ubisoft, Activision Blizzard, and Take-Two are often at the top of the list, depending on who you ask, but if we had to pick the worst one for the year overall, it would undoubtedly be Activision Blizzard.
That isn’t encouraging for those who want to upgrade to new hardware but have to contend with stock that sells out immediately because of high demand, robots that can check out faster than any human, and scalpers who view this shortage as a way to make a sleazy buck. Will consoles like the PS5 and Xbox Series X become easier to find at any point during 2022? We’ll keep our fingers crossed, but after the last two years, we’re not exactly hopeful.
In July, Activision Blizzard was hit with a lawsuit from the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing [PDF] alleging that the publisher has allowed a culture of sexual harassment and abuse to fester for years. Ever since that lawsuit was made public, Activision has seemingly gone out of its way to act as cartoonishly evil as possible.
As if tone-deaf press releases and bog-standard corporate empty promises weren’t enough, Activision Blizzard made things worse on numerous occasions. The DFEH has expanded its lawsuit to allege that the company interfered with its investigation, while a recent bombshell report from The Wall Street Journal alleged that Activision chief Bobby Kotick had known about these sexual misconduct allegations for years, at some points reportedly hiding those complaints and settlements from the Board of Directors. If you thought it couldn’t get worse, the WSJ’s report claims Kotick threatened to kill an assistant at one point.
It’s hard to imagine how Activision Blizzard’s Board could possibly justify keeping Bobby Kotick in his position after the year the company just had, but they’ll probably find some shaky justification for it and then continue on acting like all is well.