Call Of Duty Developers At Raven Software End Strike After More Than A Month, As Dev Reorganizes
A crowdfunding effort to support the striking developers raised more than $370,000.
Quality assurance developers at Raven Software have called off their strike as the group launches a campaign to form a union at the Call of Duty studio. Additionally, Raven Software has made changes to its organizational structure (more on that below).
The ABK Workers Alliance social media page announced, "Pending the recognition of our union, the Raven QA strike has ended." The strike began in early December after a number of staffers were let go. A fundraiser on GoFundMe to support the striking workers has raised more than $370,000 USD.
Any unused money from the fundraiser will be put aside into a separate pool for future organizing or strike efforts, ABK Workers Alliance said on Twitter.
Pending the recognition of our union, the Raven QA strike has ended. Unused strike funds are being stored for future organizing/strike efforts.— ABetterABK 💙 ABK Workers Alliance (@ABetterABK) January 23, 2022
We'll post or retweet any GWU updates here. Appreciate all the community support throughout the strike!
On January 21, a group of testers at Call of Duty studio Raven Software began the process of creating a union. The quality assurance developers are working with the Communication Workers of America union to create a guild called Game Workers Alliance. The group is asking Activision Blizzard to voluntarily recognize its union, but as of yet, that has not happened.
Call of Duty: Vanguard and Warzone Pacific's Season 2 update has been delayed by 12 days, while Activision has acknowledged that the series in general is struggling, though whether or not Raven's worker strike played a role in that is unclear. Despite the ongoing issues, Call of Duty: Vanguard and Black Ops Cold War were the No. 1 and No. 2 best-selling games of 2021 in the US.
With regards to Raven's organizational changes, a spokesperson for Activision confirmed that Raven's QA developers will now work directly with other teams such as animation, art, design, audio, production, and engineering. Activision's full statement is below.
"Today, Raven Software shared an organizational update that continues the work the studio began in November which will transition Quality Assurance teams to work directly alongside Animation, Art, Design, Audio, Production and Engineering teams within Raven. This change will enhance the collaborative work our teams do to support our games and players and make the opportunities for our talented QA staff even stronger.
"This is the next step in a process that has been carefully considered and in the works for some time, and this structure brings Raven into alignment with the best practices of other prominent Activision studios. It is also a milestone in our broader plan to integrate QA more into the development process as our teams strive to deliver best in class coordination in real-time, live service operations."
The trade group CWA reacted to Raven's organization shift, saying it is "nothing more than a tactic to thwart Raven QA workers who are exercising their right to organize."
This announcement, which came three days after Raven QA workers publicly requested recognition of their union – @WeAreGWA (CWA) – is nothing more than a tactic to thwart Raven QA workers who are exercising their right to organize.— CODE-CWA (@CODE_CWA) January 25, 2022
Another factor at play here is that Raven Software, along with every other Activision Blizzard studio and franchise, is in the process of being acquired by Microsoft. Just how Microsoft's proposed buyout of Activision Blizzard might affect unionization efforts and the future of the Call of Duty series remains to be seen. For what it's worth, Xbox boss Phil Spencer has said the Call of Duty series will continue to be published on PlayStation, similar to how Microsoft's Minecraft series is released on competing platforms.
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