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Blizzard and Harmonix joins studios opposing Trump immigration ban

[UPDATE] Executive order draws criticism from A Certain Affinity and Global Game Jam; Devolver Digital offers to show games for devs who can't make it to GDC

Two more major games studios have spoken out against President Trump's executive order to ban immigration from seven predominantly Muslim nations.

Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime revealed that it has affected some of his own employees, while Harmonix condemned the action, pointing to its own roots as proof of why immigration is needed.

They join the likes of Insomniac, Zynga, Electronic Arts, Microsoft and more in openly opposing the ban. The organisers of GDC have pledged to refund those now unable to attend, labelling the order as "horrific", while the ESA has warned that foreign workers are vital to the industry.

Some mobile developers have donated revenues to American Civil Liberties Union's efforts fighting the ban, or introduced messages into their games calling for more support from players.'s Brendan Sinclair also had a few things to say on the matter.

Over at Blizzard, Morhaime moved to reassure his thousands of staff in a company-wide email promising support, VentureBeat reports.

"I share the concerns that many of you, and many within our industry, have expressed," he wrote.

"The executive order issued directly affected a small number of our employees and their families, and supporting them is a priority for us. Our HR and Legal teams are in touch with those impacted and are providing travel guidance as well as legal assistance and further counselling as needed.

"The executive order strikes an incredibly sharp contrast with the values on which our company was founded. We are, and will always be, a company that strives for inclusion, embraces diversity, and treats one another with respect. This is the very foundation of what makes not just our company - but America - great, which is why I am so troubled by these actions. Regardless of where you are from or what your religious beliefs are, our strength is in our diversity."

He advised that any employees with concerns should reach out to their HR partner, or are free to contact him directly.

Meanwhile, GameSpot reports Harmonix released a statement via Twitter that points to its own history as proof of why the ban should not stand.

"Harmonix was co-founded by an immigrant from the Middle East," the company wrote. "Many of us are the sons and daughters of immigrants, if not immigrants ourselves.

"We strongly believe that the best of Harmonix flows from a diverse set of perspectives held by talented individuals spanning many ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations, cultures, and religious beliefs. The strength and wisdom derived from diversity and inclusiveness have made us who we are.

"We stand together in opposition to the President's immigration bans and anything which runs contrary to our core values."

Update: Add Devolver Digital to the list of companies taking action in the wake of Trump's immigration ban. The indie publisher today pledged to help developers who will now be unable to attend this month's Game Developers Conference in San Francisco by showcasing their games at a Devolver function near the show. The company will provide the space, as well as PCs and HTC Vive headsets if necessary. More details are available on the company's website.

Update 2: Austin, Texas-based Certain Affinity, one of the co-developers on Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered, has joined the growing list of game developers speaking out in opposition to Trump's divisive actions. Certain Affinity president Max Hoberman posted the following on Facebook and Twitter this week:

"In this time of great distress over issues that push to pit 'us against them' it's important to state where Certain Affinity stands. Now more than ever we must continue to give voice to our values: we don't turn our backs on one another, nor to those in need regardless of background, origin, or beliefs. Diversity and inclusion are what make this country great and Certain Affinity is modeled on this notion.

"As I communicated almost exactly a year ago, few if any of us would be here today if strong prejudice against immigrants had prevailed in the past. I wouldn't be here if my great-grandparents hadn't been allowed into the US as immigrants fleeing persecution, nor would my wife, who immigrated from Iran, one of the countries from which refugees, permanent US residents, immigrants and visitors are being collectively punished - targeted and discriminated against. Certain Affinity itself wouldn't be here, creating amazing games, providing 10 years of stable, high-quality jobs, and giving back to the community.

"CA includes amazing people from a wide variety of countries and ethnic backgrounds. Our strong team is made up of people with a myriad of individual differences, life experiences, perspectives and unique talents. Embracing this diversity and continuing to nurture it is part of the bedrock of our culture, our reputation and our success. We will continue to stand with all of you in creating an inclusive and safe place to work and we will continue hiring the best worldwide talent without prejudice."

Update 3: The chorus of industry voices speaking out against President Trump's executive order grows louder by the day, with the Global Game Jam stating that it "goes deeply against our values" and is likely to cause significant problems for gatherings held in the United States.

In a statement released over the weekend, the Global Game Jam board of directors pointed out that it was active in more than 100 countries, and the order had, "already caused strife for jammers worldwide."

"This action by the President will inevitably cause some narratives to be left forever unplayed.

"We are against an executive order that seeks to exclude and unfairly scrutinize innocent individuals based on their religion and national origin. We will do what we can as the Global Game Jam to continue connecting people and uplifting expression from all over the world."

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James Batchelor: James is Editor-in-Chief at, and has been a B2B journalist since 2006. He is author of The Best Non-Violent Video Games
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