Activision promotes game testers amid work condition criticisms

Photo by Jae C. Hong via AP Photo

Bloomberg reported today that Activision Blizzard, the Santa Monica-based gaming company behind hits like Call of Duty, will transform 1,100 temporary or contract quality assurance workers to full-time employees. These actions come after the company has faced years of criticism for exploiting its part-time labor force.

Last December Raven Software, the studio behind Call of Duty owned by Activision, attempted to unionize after 500 temporary roles were turned full time, ending 20 contracts. That Activision would not recognize this workers’ union prompted the National Labor Relations Board to get involved. The case was heard in February but a ruling has not yet been issued. 

In a statement for the company, a spokesperson denies any correlation between these events, stating: “Whether Raven workers choose to unionize has nothing to do with the salary increases elsewhere for Activision’s QA workers.” Raven’s workers are not eligible for the new pay increases “due to legal obligations under the National Labor Relations Act.”

Sara Steffens, secretary-treasurer for the Communications Workers of America, under whose auspices the Raven workers are trying to organize, expressed skepticism, per Bloomberg, stating that Activision’s “disingenuous announcement is further evidence of the need for workers to have a protected voice on the job.”