Nearly 1,100 of Activision Blizzard’s U.S.-based temporary and contingent employees who test the company’s video games will be granted full-time status beginning July 1. The move will increase Activision Publishing’s total number of full-time employees by 25%.
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Additionally, QA employees will receive an increased minimum hourly wage rate of $20 per hour beginning April 17. QA employees will be eligible to participate in the company bonus plan and will have access to all company benefits.
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“At Activision Blizzard, we are bringing more content to players across our franchises than ever before,” an Activision Blizzard spokesperson told FOX Business in a statement. “As a result, we are refining how our teams work together to develop our games and deliver the best possible experiences to our players. We have ambitious plans for the future and members of our Quality Assurance (QA) team are an essential part of our development efforts.”
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In an email to staff reviewed by FOX Business, Josh Taub, chief operating officer of Activision Publishing, noted that the company has increased its live services business across all platforms in response to increased engagement. from Call of Duty. players over the past two years.
“As Call of Duty evolves, we anticipate times when the workload will fluctuate and exceed the bandwidth of our extended team. With this in mind, we are adding additional support to our team from external partners. “, Taub said. “This is a long-standing studio and industry practice that will give us more flexibility and capacity to meet business needs and allow our internal teams to focus on the results that have the greatest impact on our business.”
Blizzard Entertainment president Mike Ybarra added in a separate email that the move is “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 level of ‘Blizzard quality’ our players have come to expect is key to ensuring we exceed player expectations,” he said.
The changes come after nearly 500 temporary and casual workers were converted to permanent full-time employees at Activision Publishing studios last year. The initial conversions came after the company announced in December that it would be laying off quality assurance contractors at its Raven Software studio, sparking a protest strike and organizing effort called the Game Workers Alliance.
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Beyond its issues with contractors, Activision Blizzard has faced fallout from allegations of sexual harassment and discrimination in a lawsuit filed by California Department of Fair Employment and Housing and accusations of union busting and retaliation in a complaint filed with the National Labor Relations Board by a group of workers known as ABetterABK.
Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick has also faced anger from employees and shareholders after the Wall Street Journal reported he hid his allegations from the company’s board for years.
Additionally, a judge recently approved an $18 million settlement to resolve similar allegations of gender-based harassment and retaliation by the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
In December, Microsoft announced its intention to buy Activision in a deal worth $68.7 billion. The deal is expected to close in fiscal year 2023. Once the deal is done, the unit will report to Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer.