Activision settles major sexual harassment suit for $18m

Today: Valve temporarily suspends payments to Ukrainian developers — Meet some of Leatherface’s prospective teenage victims — Blizzard is showing off more art and locations from Diablo IV

Activision Blizzard settles major lawsuit

Activision Blizzard logos at convention

Activision Blizzard has settled a sexual harassment suit with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to the tune of $18 million.

The suit dealt with sexual harassment and sex discrimination related to Activision Blizzard's handling of pregnant employees. An initial settlement was agreed on in late 2021.

  • $18,000,000 allocated to ‘preventative programs’
  • EEOC will exercise oversight on the initiatives
  • US judge ruled it “fair, reasonable and adequate”
  • At least three major lawsuits are still in progress

Objection: The settlement was not approved by the judge presiding over the case until now since the Californian Department for Employment and Housing objected. The two agencies have been at odds during the proceedings against Activision Blizzard.

Agency spat: The DFEH alleged that the settlement could do irreparable harm to its own lawsuits, while the EEOC responded by alleging ethical violations by two of the DFEH's attorneys.

When was Ultima Online released?

a) 1995
b) 1996
c) 1997
d) 1998

The answer will be revealed at the bottom of today's issue. Join up with our community on Twitter and Facebook to discuss what the answer could be.

Steam suspends payments to Ukraine

Valve email to Ukrainian developer Stas Shostak

Valve has contacted Ukrainian developers and informed them that Steam payments will be suspended “due to the current environment.”

Following an online backlash, Valve has confirmed that the email is real and clarified that the payments are suspended for regulatory reasons and that Valve is working to find a workaround.

Sanctions: "This past week, our bank notified us that they will begin requiring that we provide intermediary bank information for all wire payments to accounts in Russia and Ukraine," Valve explained.

Workaround: "Rest assured, if there are any outstanding balances on your account they will be paid as soon as they can be sent.” Some developers have already opened foreign bank accounts to avoid missing payments.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre’s five Victims

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre’s five revealed Victims

Gun Interactive is showcasing the cast of victims in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, along with their reasons for looking for the missing Maria Flores.

“We wanted a diverse group of friends that would – surface level – strongly correlate to differing playstyles.” The goal was to “create a group that feels natural together”.

Five Victims: The cast consists of Julie, Leland, Connie, Sonny, and Ana. Developing the personalities of the cast helped their “in-game abilities start to form organically,” according to creative director Ronnie Hobbs.

More soon: While there are five playable characters, only four can be picked for any game which means there will always be a gap in the group's capabilities. Expect more information about The Texas Chainsaw Massacre soon.

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When was Ultima Online released?

A mass of players in an inn in Ultima Online.

ANSWER: 1997!

Ultima Online wasn't quite the first MMO, but it was definitely the first one to turn heads. Made on a $2.5 million budget, it brought Ultima's distinctive gameplay to an online world populated by thousands of players at once. By 2003, the game had over 200,000 subscribers – which may not sound like much compared to giga-successes like World of WarCraft but it was still early days for the genre.

In any case, Ultima Online demonstrated the unique appeal of the MMO genre as well as many of its idiosyncrasies. A notable example was the assassination of Lord British himself during the game's beta, or crafters imprisoning players with chairs and demanding ransoms for their release. Ever wondered why most MMOs are designed the way they are? Ultima Online griefers. That's why.

Total War Warhammer is now free on the Epic Games Store, an excellent opportunity to go back to where it all started while we wait for them to improve the third one…

Today's issue of DailyBits was written by Gavin Herman, Erlend Grefsrud, Simon Priest, and Jamie Davey. If you have any feedback or news tips for the team, please email us!