Activision Blizzard to Convert All US-Based QA Workers to Full-Time Positions
Activision Blizzard is converting all of its U.S.-based temporary and contingent quality assurance (QA) workers to permanent full-time employees, increasing their minimum hourly rate to $20 per hour and making them eligible to partake in the company’s bonus plan and access its full-time benefits.
The announcement was reportedly made Thursday via emails sent from Activision Publishing COO Josh Taub and head of Blizzard Mike Ybarra to staff (H/T Polygon).
According to Engadget, the base pay raises will be effective starting April 17, while the FTE conversion will take place on July 1.
"During the last two years," Taub's email reportedly reads, "Call of Duty has expanded and evolved. Our development cycles have gone from an annual release to an 'always on' model. In response to greater engagement, we’ve increased our live services business across all platforms.
"In light of these changes, and as we look to our ambitious plans for the future, we are further refining how our development teams work together. QA is, and continues to be, critical to our development success."
In a separate email, Ybarra shared a similar sentiment to announce the changes coming soon for all of Blizzard's U.S.-based QA temporary and contract workers — more than 90 people across Irvine, Austin and Albany.
"Our ability to deliver great games at the 'Blizzard quality' level our players expect is vital to ensuring we exceed player expectations," Ybarra's email reportedly reads. "Over the last 6 months, I’ve had the opportunity to listen and engage with members of our QA team and we’ve had several meetings where I outlined my philosophy about contract/full-time roles. I want to thank everyone who helped educate me and expressed their views on how we can make Blizzard the best player-focused game studio."
Ultimately, the announcement comes amid growing unionization efforts across Activision Blizzard.
The ABK Workers Alliance has organized various walkouts in support of better working conditions.
After nearly 500 temporary and contingent workers were converted to FTEs at Activision Publishing’s studios in December 2021, 20 temporary workers were told their contracts were not included, kicking off a strike that led to QA testers at Raven Software looking to form a union.
Activision declined to voluntarily recognize the Game Workers Alliance, whose organizers are now awaiting a decision with the National Labor Relations Board before moving toward an official union vote.