Activision Blizzard gives thousands of game testers full-time jobs and salary increases

Activision Blizzard has recently announced that all temporary and unmanageable QA staff at Activision Publishing and the Blizzard division are being turned into full-time employees – meaning that nearly 1,100 temporary game testers will get full-time benefits. They will also receive a higher salary with a new minimum hourly rate of $ 20.

Here’s a full statement from Jessica Taylor, Vice President of Activision Blizzard in Corporate Communications:

Through Activision Blizzard, we’re bringing more content to players under our franchise than ever before. As a result, we are refining how our teams work together to develop our games and deliver the best possible experiences for our players. We have ambitious plans for the future and our quality assurance (QA) team is an important part of our development work.

As a result, we announced today the transition of all U.S. temporary and unforeseen QA team members from Activision Publishing (AP) and Blizzard – nearly 1,100 people in total – to full-time permanent employees as of July 1st. In addition, we are increasing the minimum hourly rate for these team members to $ 20 / hour. or more in effect April 17. These employees will also be eligible to participate in the company’s bonus program and have access to the company’s full benefits.

This change follows a process that began last year at AP and Blizzard to turn temporary and unrelated employees, including 500 at AP workshops, into full-time permanent employees.

The change comes as a result of significant employee activity by Raven Software, an Activision studio known for its work on Call of Duty series, announced in December that it was going to lay off QA contractors. Some workers went on strike in protest, and some have since formed a trade union, the Game Workers Alliance. We have contacted the Game Workers Alliance for their response to the Activision Blizzard movement. Epic Games announced a similar decision to turn full-time testers earlier this year.

Activision has also come under significant pressure following a California lawsuit in July alleging that the company promoted a culture of “persistent sexual harassment.” The Wall Street Journal reported in November that CEO Bobby Kotick had been aware of allegations of sexual misconduct at the company for many years. A lawsuit in California is pending, although a judge recently approved a $ 18 million settlement with the U.S. Gender Equality Commission over a special lawsuit.

The changes also overshadow Microsoft’s imminent $ 68.7 billion deal with Activision Blizzard.

Activision provided two emails for changes The Verge sent to their teams this week by Activision Publishing and Blizzard to alert them to the changes. We have included them below:

Email to US Activision Publishing staff from Josh Taub, Chief Operating Officer of Activision Publishing

From: Josh Taub

Subject line: QA update

team,

In the last two years, Call of Duty has expanded and evolved. Our development processes have gone from an annual release to an “always on” model. In response to increased participation, we have expanded our service activities live on all systems. Our offers now cover seasonal passes, operators and the great material available in our stores. We have also expanded our workforce and support between our studios, along with exciting new mobile plans.

In light of these changes, and as we look to our ambitious future plans, we are further refining how our development teams work together. QA is, and continues to be, critical to our success in development. We have an amazing QA team that works hard to ensure that our players get the best possible gaming experience – thank you!

I’m glad to announce that we are convert all temporary and unforeseen employees in the United States to full-time employment (FTE). We are raising their hourly rate to a minimum of $ 20 / hour. and provide access to the full benefits of the company, and they will be eligible to participate in the company’s bonus program.

This change comes as a result of nearly 500 temporary staffing and temporary staff being transformed into full-time permanent staff at Activision Publishing’s studios and other ongoing changes that have taken place in recent months.

Sem Call of Duty evolving, we anticipate periods when workload will fluctuate and exceed the bandwidth of our expanded team. With this in mind, we are adding extra support for our team from outside partners. This is a long-standing workshop and industry that will provide us with more flexibility and the ability to support business needs and enable our internal teams to focus on the success that most influences our business.

Together we will change the game and take Call of Duty to the next level.

-Josh

Blizzard Employee Email from Mike Ybarra, Blizzard’s CEO

From: Mike Ybarra

Content: Delivering Blizzard Quality: Full-time QA

Hi Blizzard,

We have shared with many of you the exciting experiences we are bringing to players in 2022 and beyond. There’s so much going on in our teams – and this’s just the beginning of our renewed focus on putting our teams and players at the forefront of everything we do.

Our ability to deliver great games at the “Blizzard quality” level that our players expect is important to ensure that we exceed player expectations. For the past 6 months I have had the opportunity to listen and communicate with the members of our QA team and we have had several meetings where I outlined my ideology of a contract / full time role. I want to thank everyone who helped educate me and expressed their views on how we can make Blizzard the best player-oriented gaming studio. We all know that QA is essential in our success in ensuring the best possible gaming experience.

Some time ago, the QA leadership began to change its approach to staffing the team, turning more temporary and contract staff (TEAs) into full-time employees (FTEs), and using partners to support short-term workload increases. Today, this change in approach is culminating in the transformation of all of the remaining U.S. contractors / contractors in QA – more than 90 people in Irvine, Austin and Albany – into FTE. We are also raising the minimum hourly rate for QA to $ 20 / hour, and they will be eligible for our bonus program and increased benefits.

We have amazing QA skills and I’m very happy to make that change so we can focus and deliver players around the world. If you have any questions, please contact me, your HR partner or Wladia Summers.

Thank you for your feedback and for helping us make this change.

Thank you,

Mike

Disclosure: Casey Wasserman is on the board of Activision Blizzard as well as the board of Vox Media, The Verge’s parent company.

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