Hello, and welcome to Get Your Game On! We’ve got exciting news on the Activision Blizzard front:
Raven Software Unionizes, Activision Blizzard Faces (Another) Lawsuit
After a lengthy uphill battle against Activision Blizzard, the Game Workers Alliance, the union of quality assurance testers at Activision Blizzard subsidiary Raven Software, have won their union vote at 19 yes votes to 3 nos. The Game Workers Alliance will become the first union at a major U.S. game studio (and the second video game union in the states after Vodeo Workers United).
BREAKING: Video game testers at Raven Software/Activision Blizzard have won their landmark union election, 19-3.
Despite a relentless union-busting campaign, Raven's quality assurance testers have formed the first union at a major U.S. gaming studio. https://t.co/1ECcSyCuWU
— More Perfect Union (@MorePerfectUS) May 23, 2022
The union first formed in December last year after ABK announced that 12 QA workers would be laid off in January. What began as a walkout in protest of the layoffs became a five-week-long strike that culminated in the formation of the Game Workers Alliance.
Activision Blizzard spokesperson Jessica Taylor wrote in a statement to The Verge, “We respect and believe in the right of all employees to decide whether or not to support or vote for a union. We believe that an important decision that will impact the entire Raven Software studio of roughly 350 people should not be made by 19 Raven employees.” This statement is in line with ABK’s previous statements, as well as their attempts to dilute the union vote by petitioning the National Labor Relations Board for the voting unit to be all Raven Software employees rather than just the QA team (this petition was declined by the NLRB).
Just hours before the union vote, the NLRB announced that it had “found merit” to charges filed in November 2021 that ABK had been allegedly threatening employees for discussing wages, ongoing investigations, and poor working conditions. The charges were originally filed by the Communications Workers of America for a group of Raven Software employees—though not the QA testers who just unionized. The NLRB will move to settle the case, but if Blizzard does not cooperate, the NLRB will file a formal complaint.
DriveThruRPG Hacked; Confirms No Customer Data Affected
Tabletop game retailer DriveThruRPG confirmed that a security breach occurred on Friday, May 20th. OneBookShelf, the operators of DriveThruRPG and several other online marketplaces, stated on Monday, May 23rd that the hacker modified prices but that no data was compromised and their team has “identified the method used to modify price points in the database and released a fix to prevent it.”
In other news…
Skyrim might be coming to the Switch (again) according to a now-removed listing from a Brazilian game site. At this rate, we’re all gonna die and have our brains uploaded into Todd Howard’s computer as Skyrim NPCs before we ever see an Elder Scrolls VI. Hope you all like sweet rolls.
Activision Blizzard faces another potential lawsuit, this time from a father whose kid spent over $300 on Hearthstone packs. The proposed class-action lawsuit argues that the lack of parental controls and inability to receive refunds is illegal under the California Family Code. Blizzard has already filed a complaint of its own to get the lawsuit moved to a higher court.
Although the WiiU and 3DS eShop will not be officially closing until March 2023, the deadline to add funds via credit card in North America passed on May 23rd. All eShop funds must be spent before August 29th, so if you’ve got any, spend them before you forget!
December Cuccaro (she/her) is an MFA graduate from the University of Nevada, Reno and a member of the 2021 Clarion West cohort. When not rambling about video games, she writes about sapphic werewolves and sad necromancers searching for friendship.