This week we’ve been following Bloomberg’s reports on Blizzard employees’ attempts to secure pay and equitable pay for the gaming industry. Early in the week, staff were circulating a spreadsheet of their wages and raises, telling journalists tales of stories of skipping meals and living on coffee and oatmeal and postponing starting families because of the poor pay from a company that just announced quarterly revenues of $1.93 billion. Yesterday’s follow-up suggested staff are now organizing behind the scenes, preparing a list of compensation demands for the company and lamenting that their “mentors are leaving in droves” because of the poor pay.
It got worse. Redditors exposed – and Wowhead confirmed – an apparent “honor point” system that appears to reward some staff with redeemable points instead of money. The system’s “rewards” seemingly include “receiving game time and Battle.net balance in lieu of cost-of-living increases.”
Former staff have also started dropping grievances on Twitter, confirming the poor and in some cases laughable compensation in some segments of the company.
“I asked an HR rep during a company financial review meeting why other Austin companies got cost of living raises and we ($12/hr) didn’t. [A]nd they said between the game keys and swag, bnet balance and 25 yrs game time we get, we more than double their salary and should be happy,” one former staffer tweeted. Others discussed how they were treated as replaceable, denied earned bonuses, and told to be thankful for their jobs when asking about hazard pay.
Obviously, this is not a super unusual rewards system in corporate America, but it usually comes in tandem with proper wages and raises to begin with, which as employees have been communicating all week is not the case. As the meme goes, try paying for your rent and groceries with honor points and see what that’s worth. It’s real bad when people compare Daybreak to Blizzard and Daybreak comes out ahead.