Historic change for the video game industry!
Game news Historic change for the video game industry!
Working in video games can be both a dream and a nightmare. Fortunately, major decisions have recently been made to further simplify the working climate within large studios.
Once upon a time Activision Blizzard
Activision Blizzard has made a lot of news in recent years, and sadly not thanks to its games. Last year, we heard a lot about Microsoft’s takeover, but that’s not all. The adventure begins at the end of 2021 with a major investigation that impacts a real tidal wave at this industry giant. In particular, it was revealed “cases of harassment, sexual assault, corporate executive protection, and acts allegedly committed or known by Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision-Blizzard-King.”
And as if that wasn’t enough, another internal problem was revealed, especially Raven Software QA testers strike (Call of Duty: Warzone). The latter aims to point to broken promises and dismissals seen as abusive. And during that time, several employees made historic decisions: launched the procedure for creating an internal union. What followed was a real showdown between Activision and employees that eventually spawned, in May 2022, for to Activision-Blizzard’s first guild: Game Workers Alliance. This will soon be followed by the Blizzard Albany tester’s guild. For an industry that has always looked dim in bringing its employees together, this is a major step. And progress never ends.
The largest union in the industry
At the end of last year, ZeniMax, the former parent company of Bethesda and the current subsidiary of Microsoft, decided to start. Its 300 quality department employees have expressed their desire to unionize, Microsoft’s first party. The company later said it did not want to “oppose” union efforts. An affirmation made even more meaningful as it was uttered in the midst of the Activision Blizzard group takeover. Therefore, this is an opportunity for Microsoft to stand out from its coveted corporate action, while offering a beautiful image. So much so that the studio Proletariat Inc. (Blizzard), when filing a recent union application with Communication Workers of America, cited Microsoft as an example to follow:
Attempts by Activision’s management to prevent its workers from organizing into unions were not only a waste of time and money, but also caused further moral damage and underscored the company’s reputation for creating a toxic and hostile work environment.
Microsoft has demonstrated that even America’s largest corporations can choose a different path and allow workers to choose freely and fairly whether or not they want union representation. It is not too late for Activision executives to change course and start improving the company’s public image and relations with its workers by recognizing the Proletarian trade union and committing to productive commitments at the negotiating table.
Sara Steffens, CWA Secretary-Treasurer
But nothing has been done so far. A turnaround is always possible. But for Microsoft, the thing promised, the thing that has to be paid for. The company remains neutral in the union process at ZeniMax, thus allowing for the formation of a new union which was recently formalized. And if the event is so important, it’s because it’s the biggest union in the video game industry. New wins that can encourage other developers and testers to take risks to make working conditions in the studio more attractive.
Happy New Year! We won our union!
— ZeniMax Workers Union – CWA (@ZeniMaxWorkers) January 3, 2023