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What’s actually being done about workplace harassment in the video games industry | Games

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If you’ve followed gaming news over the past couple of years, it has been impossible to avoid the many appalling stories about workplace harassment and discrimination that have emerged as part of a long-overdue reckoning in the games industry. As a woman who’s worked in the games media for over 15 years, I can only say that I have been grimly unsurprised by the revelations. The consequences that women face for speaking out on these issues has meant that until recently, few were willing to do so publicly. Last month, however, marked a turning point, as Riot Games paid out $100m in a settlement to more than 2,000 women who brought a case against it for gender discrimination. Other scandal-hit publishers and developers will be quaking in their boots.

It is not an exaggeration to say that workplace harassment is endemic in the video games industry. Off-colour humour, boys’-club mentality and sexist or racist ‘banter’ might once have been written off as “studio culture” (I have heard this with my own ears), but companies are now facing consequences for failing to protect their employees from the harmful people who have unfortunately found a home in game development. At this point, few of the biggest companies in gaming remain entirely untouched by allegations and lawsuits. So what is it that can actually be done to ensure that the people making games can count on a decent working environment free of creeps and bullies, especially at huge studios comprised of hundreds or thousands of people?

Perhaps unsurprisingly, it is difficult to get executives at big video game companies to comment on this. But I spoke to EA’s Chris Bruzzo, who as the company’s chief experience officer was put in charge of creating a more positive culture both for EA’s employees and its players, and seems committed to the task. “It was about four years ago that we as a leadership team spoke very clearly to the whole company about not tolerating harassment, abuse or misconduct,” he says. “We have made significant investments and seriously stepped up consequences in our offices all over the world, to ensure that people who feel that they’ve been harassed or abused get heard … I myself have exited several people from the company in the past five years.”

EA has 11,000 employees globally, which of course increases the odds of someone, somewhere behaving inappropriately on any given day. Bruzzo acknowledges that there is a tremendous amount of work to be done to ensure a safe and welcoming work environment for everyone, but believes that the biggest companies in games have the resources to combat harassment at the source. Unconscious bias training is now mandatory at EA, reporting tools allow anyone to flag issues they may be experiencing, and the company has also diversified its hiring; as of this year, EA is one of few companies to have closed its gender pay gap, according to its internal reporting. When somebody is told that they’re breaking the code of contact, he says, they will generally apologise and change their behaviour. “When you tell people about what they’re doing and the harm it’s causing others, intentionally or unintentionally, 9 times out of 10 that’s all you gotta do.”

Bruzzo tells me that he was previously himself the victim of a toxic working environment, involving a boss who was a bully, and so has first-hand experience of the toll it can take. “This person would call me late at night or on the weekends and scream and yell, threaten to fire me; in large meetings they would question why I was even at the company or why I was born,” he says. “I had to take anxiety medication, my health was deteriorating … it was pretty serious. When I resigned, people said, we didn’t know that you couldn’t take it. This is very personal to me.”

There are, in Bruzzo’s opinion, three things that the biggest companies in gaming need to prioritise if things are going to change for the better. “First we have to really set the expectation, be on the record, that we will no longer be bystanders; and second we need great tools for investigating and enforcing. Third and most importantly we have to take concrete steps towards improving diversity and inclusion, in our company and in our games … We’re not going to get the kind of real gains we need to get until we start to hire our employees in a way that eliminates more biases and creates diversity.”

I agree entirely that if actual, lasting change is going to be effected in the games industry, it needs to be a priority for every company that makes games. People known to be toxic can’t be allowed to simply bounce from studio to studio. Lip-service to diversity can’t take the place of actual investment of serious time, money and effort in rooting out problem people and solving hiring biases. It’s an expensive problem to solve – but given the legal, reputational and share-price cost to publishers and developers who have let these issues run riot, it’s going to be much more expensive to ignore it.

What to play

A screenshot of Wordle, the word going viral this month
Word of mouth … A screenshot of Wordle, the word going viral this month Photograph:

It’s unlikely that you’ve escaped Wordle so far this year, a super-simple online word game that went from totally unknown to ABSOLUTELY EVERYWHERE in the last month, but if you’re still wondering what all those wee squares in your social media feeds are, this is it. It’s extremely simple: go to the Wordle website every day and try to guess a new five-letter word. You have five guesses and it’ll tell you which letters you got right. What’s particularly endearing about this puzzle game, as Simon Parkin explains in his review, is that it was made by a guy called Josh Wardle last year as a gift for his partner, and remains entirely unmonetised. Given how wantonly capitalistic the games industry mostly is, that makes for a nice change.

What to read

  • A few weeks ago this newsletter took a critical look at the sketchy economy behind Roblox, the wildly popular game platform that’s valued at over $40bn and used daily by tens of millions of kids. For the Observer, Simon Parkin uncovered several truly alarming stories of abuse, exploitation and grooming from the platform’s young developers, which only highlights the urgent need for more scrutiny of these platforms.

  • Speaking of kids and online safety, the UK’s data watchdog is “seeking talks” with Facebook owner Meta because a bunch of parents bought their kids an Oculus VR headset over Christmas and were shocked to discover that it has no parental controls, and apps like VRChat are basically unmoderated, resulting in a lot of inappropriate conversations with minors. I donned my Quest 2 headset and returned to VRChat after a couple of years’ absence to discover somewhere that reminded me of the wild west of the early internet: random, full of trolls and dominated by edgelord humour. So, pretty much like most other places online. Given what we all know about Facebook, and given how endemic toxicity is in all online worlds, at this stage I highly doubt that any big tech company has the will or the means to make the virtual world universally safe and pleasant.

  • E3 – the June event at which every company that makes video games traditionally whips up a frenzy of hype for whatever’s next – will again be digital-only this year. For me, that means three days of sitting in front of a laptop watching an overwhelming barrage of game trailers and trying to calibrate what’s most interesting, as opposed to three days of running around a big sweaty conference hall in LA watching an overwhelming barrage of game demos and trying to calibrate what’s most interesting. For the wider games industry, this raises questions about whether these huge in-person events will ever return, and whether they should.

  • The developers of forthcoming run-away-from-the-zombies game Dying Light 2 have proudly announced that it will take at least 500 hours to 100% complete it. The Internet has reacted to this news with either excitement or a kind of dead-eyed existential ennui, depending on the age and life circumstances of the player in question.

What to click

Question Block

This week’s question comes from Pat McGibbon, who asks: As a keen gamer and also a hobbyist language learner, I often change the settings to play games in a foreign language. Do any other readers do this, or am I the only one?

You’re definitely not the only one, Pat, because I am also a huge language nerd and I also do this! It’s how I learned one of the Japanese alphabets: in order to navigate the menus in the weird PS2 games I used to play on import as a teen, I had to be able to read katakana. I played the first Mass Effect with German subtitles to make myself feel better about playing it instead of studying for my German degree. The Yakuza games helped me keep up my Japanese for a while after living there. In Assassin’s Creed I switch to the “native” language of the game wherever possible. When you’re a native English speaker it can be really difficult to find films, TV or music to absorb in another language, because English is the global default – but plenty of games have full voicing in several languages, and I find that because you’re actually doing stuff in games rather than just watching, some of it actually sticks.

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Energize Your Property Value: The Surge In Demand For Home EV Charging Points

By Raza H. Qadri (ALI)

In a rapidly evolving real estate landscape, home electric vehicle (EV) charging points have emerged as a coveted feature. Here, we will explore the surge in demand for these charging stations and their potential to transform property value desirability.

Surge in Demand:

Estate agents are witnessing an unprecedented uptick in requests for properties equipped with EV charging points. Rightmove reports a staggering 592% increase in listings mentioning EV chargers since 2019. This summer, Jackson-Stops even incorporated EV charging points into their top-ten must-have property features for the first time.

Adding Value To Property:

Integrating electric vehicle (EV) charging points into residential properties has become a key factor in boosting their market value. According to insights from the National Association of Property Buyers, homes equipped with EV charging facilities can see an uptick in value ranging from £3,000 to £5,000. This trend aligns with the increasing demand for sustainable features in real estate. Rightmove’s Greener Homes report highlights a remarkable 40% surge in listings mentioning EV chargers in comparison to the previous year. Such statistics underscore the significance of these installations as a sought-after feature among buyers.

Beyond the potential increase in property value, homeowners can reap substantial benefits from dedicated EV charging points. These specialized units offer significantly faster charging speeds compared to standard three-pin plugs. With an output of 32 amps/7kw, a dedicated charger can provide up to 28 miles per hour of charging, a substantial improvement over the 9 miles offered by a standard plug.

Moreover, safety considerations play a pivotal role. Standard domestic sockets may not be designed for prolonged high-output usage, potentially leading to overheating and related wiring issues.

Therefore, the integration of a dedicated EV charging point not only adds tangible value to a property but also ensures a safer and more efficient charging experience for homeowners and their electric vehicles.

Benefits Beyond Convenience:

Dedicated charge points offer benefits beyond convenience. According to James McKemey from Pod Point, these units deliver significantly faster charging speeds compared to standard three-pin plugs. Safety considerations also come into play, as standard domestic sockets may not be built for prolonged high-output usage.


Charging an EV at home proves more cost-effective than relying on public charging stations. Smart charging capabilities enable homeowners to take advantage of lower rates, typically offered during off-peak hours, such as at night.

Charger prices vary, ranging from approximately £300 to over £1,000, with installation costs potentially adding another £400 to £600.

Solar Integration:

Solar integration presents a game-changing opportunity for homeowners seeking both environmental sustainability and financial benefits. The global solar energy capacity reached an astounding 793 gigawatts (GW), illuminating the rapid adoption of this renewable energy source.

For homeowners, integrating solar panels with an electric vehicle (EV) charging point can lead to substantial savings. On average, a standard solar panel system costs around £6,000 to £7,000 per kWp (kilowatt peak), with the typical installation size being 4kWp. This equates to an initial investment of approximately £24,000 to £28,000.

However, the return on investment is impressive. Solar panels can generate roughly 3,200 kWh (kilowatt-hours) per year for a 4kWp system in the UK. With the average cost of electricity sitting at 16.1p per kWh, homeowners can save approximately £515 annually on energy bills.

Moreover, the Smart Export Guarantee (SEG) scheme allows homeowners to earn money by exporting excess electricity back to the grid. As of September 2021, the SEG offers rates ranging from 1.79p to 5.24p per kWh. Over the course of 20 years, a solar panel system can generate savings of over £10,000, demonstrating the substantial financial benefits of solar integration. This trend is expected to surge further as advancements in solar technology continue to drive down installation costs and boost energy production.

Regulations and Grants:

Regulations surrounding EV charging point installations vary, particularly for listed buildings, which require planning permission for wall-mounted units. However, for flat owners, renters, and landlords with off-street parking, there’s an opportunity to benefit from government grants.

These grants provide a substantial subsidy, offering £350 or covering 75% of the total installation cost, whichever is lower. This incentive has spurred a surge in installations, with a notable uptick in applications over the past year.

In fact, according to recent data, the number of approved grant applications for EV charging points has risen by an impressive 68% compared to the previous year. This demonstrates a growing recognition of the value and importance of these installations in both residential and rental properties.

Renting Out Your Charging Point:

Renting out your EV charging point also presents a compelling opportunity for homeowners to capitalize on the growing demand for electric vehicle infrastructure.

According to recent market trends, the number of registered electric vehicles worldwide surpassed 14 million in 2023, marking a significant milestone. With projections indicating an annual growth rate of 29% – 34% for the global electric vehicle market, the need for accessible charging solutions is set to skyrocket. In the UK alone, the number of electric vehicles on the road has tripled over the last three years, reaching over 857,000 at the end of 2023.

This surge in EV ownership underscores the potential market for homeowners looking to rent out their charging points. Platforms like JustPark and Co Charger facilitate this process by connecting drivers in need of charging with available charging stations.

By participating in this shared economy, homeowners not only contribute to the expansion of EV infrastructure but also stand to generate a supplementary income stream. This symbiotic relationship between EV owners and charging point hosts aligns with the broader shift towards sustainable transportation solutions.


Finally, we can conclude that the surge in demand for properties with EV charging points signals a shifting paradigm in real estate. With added convenience, cost-efficiency, and potential for monetization, these installations are poised to become a cornerstone of future property value and desirability.

We Can’t Thank You Enough For Your Support!

— By Raza H. Qadri | Science, Technology & Business Contributor “THE VOICE OF EU

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Business Transformation Expert Talks About Mass Layoffs

By Clint Bailey – ‘The Voice of EU’

By Clint Bailey – ‘The Voice of EU’

Raza H. Qadri (Ali), a Business Transformation expert and the Founder of Vibertron Technologies, a BizTech company, possesses extensive experience in the tech industry. Throughout his career, he has provided consulting services to both large corporations and SMEs undergoing significant restructuring initiatives.

In a recent interview with Voice of EU, Qadri highlighted the detrimental impact of mass layoffs on mid-career tech professionals and the businesses that implement such measures. He expressed his concern regarding the prevailing trend of widespread workforce reductions, suggesting that it represents a logical misstep.

“Considering the reputation of the tech industry for innovation, I had anticipated greater progress in recent developments. However, it appears that tech companies are regressing, particularly in their dismantling of established departments and structures that were intended to drive future growth.”

[Mass redundancies are] an outdated and traditional practice that most companies turn to as a first resort to create liquidity

Qadri says that most of the employees impacted by layoffs have “approximately 10-11 years of experience” and so are “not really junior staff that are easily replaced,” noting there would be “a loss of skills and knowledge in these companies.”

Additionally, he expresses concern regarding the potential loss of diversity at the technical and software engineering layer. Executives are increasingly focused on building and developing technology utilizing AI systems, which are known to possess biases due to limited training data.

Throughout his extensive experience working across various industries and regions, Qadri has observed that more than 70% of digital transformation initiatives either fall short or fail to achieve their intended outcomes. He emphasizes that one critical component, often overlooked, that can make or break digital transformation is the “people element.”

Emulating Technology & The Copycat Phenomenon

“In my view, the companies seem to be copying each other’s operations strategies” says Qadri. According to Qadri, these companies view the situation as an opportunity to streamline their workforce by letting go of the additional employees they had hired during the pandemic-induced surge. Many believed that the future would be dominated by virtual meetings and peripheral manufacturers would continue to experience significant profits.

However, in contrast to the significant revenue growth experienced by many companies during the global lockdowns, a notable trend has emerged. Numerous organizations have initiated large-scale job cuts.

According to data compiled by, 693 technology businesses have already laid off 197,945 employees this year, with the year not even reaching its midpoint. This figure surpasses the 164,591 individuals laid off by 1,056 companies throughout the entirety of 2022.

Qadri quoted Henry Ford’s aphorism – “Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason so few engage in it” – saying that mass redundancies were “an outdated and traditional practice that most companies turn to as a first resort to create liquidity.”

Shareholders, Profitability & Financial Performance Driving the Bottom Line

Qadri said: “The impact of layoffs on profitability may not be immediately evident, as increased expenses and significant severance packages (usually spanning 3-6 months) need to be accounted for in the short term. However, the dismantling of established departments and structures by tech companies is perceived as a regressive step. This approach reflects short-term thinking, lacking a focus on sustainable strategies for the digital future.”

Raza Qadri

Business Transformation Exec. Raza Qadri Talks About Mass Layoffs.

Qadri, who recently introduced a new remote work tech transformation algorithm MCiHT (Multi-Channel Integrated Hybrid Technologies) for Vibertron Consulting Solutions, notes that while companies are laying off people, they are investing billions in AI, IoT, and automation, citing the billions Microsoft has put into OpenAI so far.

In recent months, Microsoft announced its intention to reduce its workforce by 10,000 employees, which constitutes approximately 4% of the company’s total staff. This decision was prompted by Satya Nadella’s remarks highlighting the necessity for productivity enhancements. Microsoft is not the only company taking such measures; other prominent organizations like Salesforce, Amazon, Google, Meta, and several others are also trimming their workforce to align with the excess hiring made during the growth spurred by the COVID-19 lockdowns.

On the company’s most recent earnings call last month, Nadella noted: “During the pandemic, it was all about new workloads and scaling workloads. But pre-pandemic, there was a balance between optimizations and new workloads. So what we’re seeing now is the new workloads start in addition to highly intense optimization drive that we have.”

CFO Amy Hood then quickly responded to this, stating the company had “been through almost a year where that pivot that Satya talked about, from [here] we’re starting tons of new workloads, and we’ll call that the pandemic time, to this transition post, and we’re coming to really the anniversary of that starting. And so to talk to your point, we’re continuing to set optimization. But at some point, workloads just can’t be optimized much further.”

Not singling Microsoft out specifically, but speaking to the point of moves made by tech companies in a ‘maturity phase’. Qadri said, “Layoffs significantly impact this key performance indicator (KPI), despite the fact that these companies may possess substantial reserves. Such measures serve as a swift means to align with investor expectations and share prices, enabling them to quickly optimize their size and structure.”

Is It A Sustainable Approach?

During our conversation, we inquired with Qadri about the notable and unprecedented cuts that occurred at Twitter following Elon Musk’s involvement with the company.

He said: “I find it difficult to believe that only 30 percent of the organization was responsible for managing the entire structure. Even if that were the case, it would require considerable time to evaluate the existing structure, realign roles and responsibilities, and implement transformative measures to enhance efficiency.

The sudden loss of a significant portion of the workforce within a few weeks raises concerns, and I anticipate witnessing a restructuring of the top leadership with the arrival of the new CEO. Considering the online statements made by individuals like him, I am apprehensive about the values and direction that tech leaders of this nature promote.”

“Conversely, individuals whose skills are no longer retained by the tech industry now have opportunities to pursue financial independence and may choose not to revert to traditional roles within companies. Some are exploring avenues as independent contractors, leveraging their technical expertise to manage multiple full-time jobs enabled by remote work.”

Ultimately, the tech industry is “not really in a dire situation financially,” he says. While it “might have some loss of revenue [it is] not in the red yet. Layoffs should be last resort in truly bad financial situations, rather than first resort in slightly uncertain conditions.”

According to Qadri, one of the proposed solutions is for companies to resist the urge to follow the crowd and instead prioritize addressing the people element. By gaining support from investors and other stakeholders, companies can shift their focus towards long-term objectives rather than short-term gains. This entails establishing a robust ecosystem of internal and external stakeholders.

Photo credits: Vibertron.

Clint Bailey — Senior Business & Technology News Editor at ‘The Voice of EU’ & Co-Editor of EU-20 magazine.

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Harnessing the Side-Hustle Wave: Navigating Rising Costs Through Online Selling

By Johnathan Elf

In recent times, a surge in online marketplace activity has been observed as individuals seek innovative ways to offset the escalating cost of living.

Platforms like Facebook Marketplace and eBay have witnessed a notable uptick in independent sellers, reflecting a growing trend in the gig economy.

Sarah Bryant, Head of Small Businesses at eBay UK, elucidates, “From the average individual seeking supplementary income to burgeoning side hustles evolving into full-fledged professions, online marketplaces are facilitating diverse entrepreneurial journeys“.

Navigating Rising Costs Through Online Selling

Navigating Rising Costs Through Online Selling

One such entrepreneur is Sami Cirant, an enterprising 23-year-old based in Easton, Bristol. Specializing in high-end trainers, or “sneakers”. Cirant stumbled upon this venture serendipitously when a pair of sneakers he purchased didn’t fit. Recognizing the potential, he swiftly turned to online platforms, selling his inventory within hours.


Subsequently, he transitioned into full-time sneaker sales, a bold move he acknowledges as a calculated risk. With minimal overheads, courtesy of living at home and supportive parents, Cirant’s business model exemplifies the low-barrier entry into online selling.

Jade Oliver, the founder of Heavenly Homes and Gardens, offers another compelling narrative. What began as a means to finance her college law course burgeoned into a thriving business, transcending the realm of a mere side hustle. Operating from a quaint shop in Ross-on-Wye, Oliver curates an extensive collection of interior décor, catering to a diverse clientele across the UK. Her journey exemplifies the transformative potential of a side hustle, with meticulous planning and a fervent dedication to her craft.

Navigating the transition from a salaried position to entrepreneurship requires astute planning and due diligence. While uncertainties abound, Michelle Ovens, the founder of Small Business Britain, asserts that the confluence of the pandemic and the cost of living crisis has spurred a surge in entrepreneurial spirit.

Ovens emphasizes the importance of diversification, leveraging various online marketplaces, and seeking guidance from the robust small business community. Ultimately, a side hustle offers a viable avenue to augment income, making it a compelling solution amidst the challenges posed by rising costs.

The surge in online selling platforms has provided individuals with a dynamic means to confront the escalating cost of living. Entrepreneurs like Sami Cirant and Jade Oliver exemplify the transformative potential of side hustles when coupled with passion, dedication, and astute planning.

As the entrepreneurial landscape continues to evolve, harnessing the power of online marketplaces emerges as a viable strategy to navigate economic uncertainties.

We Can’t Thank You Enough For Your Support!

— By Johnathan Elf, business contributor “THE VOICE OF EU

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