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Activision Blizzard offers 1,100 game testers full-time jobs and better pay

Activision Blizzard has announced that all temporary and temporary quality employees in the Activision Publishing and Blizzard divisions will be converted to full-time employees in the coming months. It concerns no fewer than 1,100 people who can take advantage of the benefits that full-time employees receive and see their hourly wages rise to 20 dollars per hour.

Here’s the announcement from Jessica Taylor, Vice President of Corporate Communications for Activision Blizzard:

At Activision Blizzard, we bring players across all our franchises more content than ever before. That’s why we’re refining the way our teams work together to develop our games and provide the best possible experiences for our players. We have ambitious plans for the future and members of our Quality Assurance (QA) team play a vital role in our development efforts.

As a result, we announced today the conversion of all US-based temporary and temporary QA team members at Activision Publishing (AP) and Blizzard—almost 1,100 people in total—to permanent full-time employees effective July 1. In addition, we will increase the minimum hourly rate for these team members to $20/hour or more effective April 17. These employees will also be able to participate in the company’s bonus plan and will have access to all of the company’s benefits.

The change is part of a process started last year at AP and Blizzard to convert temporary and casual employees, including 500 at AP studios, into permanent full-time employees.

This is, of course, great news for these testers. The event is nevertheless tainted by the fact that it does not relate to that of Raven Software, studio to which we owe notably Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War and Call of Duty War Zone. However, it is precisely at Raven that the workers went to the front to change things.

At Activision Blizzard, we explain this as follows: “Due to our legal obligations under state employment law laws, we are prohibited from making new types of compensation changes at Raven on the ‘actual hour’.

Hopefully all will be well for those affected at Raven Software and the employees will eventually become full time employees.

Note that this move is not the industry’s first. Earlier this year, Epic Games announced the move to full-time testers to ease growing tensions between employees and global studios.

Also at Blizzard Entertainment

On the Blizzard side, Mike Ybarra sent a letter to employees to announce the changes coming to the company. I suggest you look for a French version below.

From: Mike Ybarra

Subject: Delivering Blizzard Quality: Full Time QA Conversion

Hi Blizzard,

We’ve shared with many of you the exciting experiences we’re bringing to players in 2022 and beyond. So much is happening within our teams – and this is just the beginning of our renewed drive to put 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 expect is essential to ensure we exceed players’ expectations. Over the past six months, I’ve had the opportunity to listen and talk to members of our QA team, and we’ve had several meetings where I laid out my philosophy on on-time, full-featured, and contract-based. I want to thank everyone who informed me and shared their thoughts on how we can make Blizzard the best game studio for gamers. We all know that quality assurance is integral to our success in ensuring the best gaming experiences possible.

Some time ago, QA management started changing its approach to team staffing, converting more temporary and contract workers (TEAs) to full-time employees (FTEs) and using partners to deal with short-term spikes in workload. Today, this change in approach culminates in the conversion to FTE of all remaining US-based QA AMEs and contractors, more than 90 people across Irvine, Austin and Albany. We are also increasing the minimum hourly rate for QA to $20/hour, and they are eligible for our increased bonus and benefits program.

We have exceptional quality assurance skills and I am very happy to make this change so that we can focus on 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

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