Last week, QA testers at Raven Software formally announced their seeking of union recognition from management at Raven Software and its parent company Activision Blizzard. Those employees returned to work yesterday, Monday, after an extended strike. Upon return, they were greeted with formal plans from Activision/Raven to embed the QA testers within various departments.
Raven Software Studio Head Brian Raffel emailed employees to notify them that "In November, we began the process to convert our temporary employees to [full-time employment] status. Now, I’m excited to share that our QA colleagues will embed directly within various teams across the studio, including Animation, Art, Design, Audio, Production and Engineering." Raffel also reiterated that this move has been in the works for months.
Embedding QA withing various departments isn't anything new to Activision Blizzard or other gaming and software companies, and management is hopeful that this will ingrain QA within teams so they have a presence at meetings, during game planning, and in other aspects of game development. The idea is to get QA closer to the product at all stages of product development.
This rationale isn't being taken at face value by CWA Organizing Director Tom Smith, though, who called the reorganization, "nothing more than a tactic to thwart Raven QA workers who are exercising their right to organize" and encouraged the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission to look into the planned purchase of Activision Blizzard by Microsoft. "This is why big tech mergers that could increase and further concentrate corporate power, like Microsoft’s proposed Activision Blizzard acquisition, deserve real oversight. This scrutiny is even more important when a company like Activision Blizzard impedes its workers from exercising rights that are protected under U.S. law,” said Smith.
According to Polygon, the Raven Software QA team is still working out exactly how this will impact attempts to unionize, so we'll keep you posted.
About the Author
Mike “Magicman” Byrne has been a part of the MMOBomb family for years and serves as the site’s current Editor-in-Chief. His love for MMOs and gaming in general has led him to covering games for numerous gaming websites including Gamebreaker TV and XIV Nation where he proudly displays his fanboy flag for FFXIV:ARR.
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