Misconduct in the gaming industry is increasingly under the spotlight as more and more prominent companies are accused of mistreatment of employees. The most prominent example at the moment is Activision Blizzard, currently embroiled in a lawsuit from the State of California over a workplace environment of discrimination and misconduct.
Activision Blizzard is far from the only industry giant that people are demanding be held accountable for the suffering of its employees. One company that may soon join the ranks of the accused is Paradox Interactive, a titan in the grand strategy genre that is currently going through upheaval in more than one way. While nothing is certain yet, Paradox may well be in trouble soon.
Two unions of white collar trade and graduate engineers conducted a survey of employees at Paradox Interactive's Swedish branch. Of the 133 employees (out of 400) who answered the survey, a little less than half reported mistreatment by the company, particularly from superiors who they felt were protected by the company. As of this article, there are no specific details on what this mistreatment or abusive treatment consisted of. This survey was concluded just days before Paradox Interactive CEO Ebba Ljungerud stepped down, with employees hearing the results hours before learning of the CEO's dparture. However, according to Paradox's communication department, new CEO Fredrik Wester, and Ljungerud herself, the survey had nothing to do with her leaving.
Paradox found the results of the survey "not satisfactory," and intends to take action. However, with the CEO position so recently changed and the "informal" nature of the survey, the company states that it following up on the survey is not a priority. Its official action at the moment is to enlist a neutral third party (another company) to conduct another, presumably more formal, survey. While Paradox developer morale has been lowered by toxicity before, primarily on the official forums, perhaps this second survey will open the door to positive change in the company.
Paradox is hardly alone in being under fire from outside sources for mistreatment of employees. Riot Games is similarly under fire, and has been several times before. If there is a real, systemic problem of mistreatment in Paradox, this is the company's chance to deal with it before more major problems arise.
Of course, it is possible that the survey will reveal that the mistreatment is not as widespread as in other companies. Out of all those surveyed in the Swedish branch of Paradox, only around one fourth actually answered, so a larger data pool will help determine the extent of the problem. It may be a largely isolated incident, or it could be as widespread a problem as the problems at Ubisoft. Only time will tell, so it's worth keeping an eye on Paradox's future responses.