Workers call out Activision-Blizzard management as it reaches $35M settlement with SEC


A Better ABK, the proto-union workers group that supports the developers at Activision-Blizzard, has once more thrown a spotlight on management malfeasance, sharing its attempts to adjust performance review processes and listing demanded adjustments.

According to the Twitter thread, QA employees across the company sent an open letter to QA leadership at the company’s Eden Prairie, Minnesota, office on December 8th, asking for changes to performance improvement plans (PIPs). On December 13th, the group says that management team “blatantly and summarily ignored” those requests, causing employees to publicly share the leadership team’s response and take over a Q&A session to bring light to the issue.

The group further outlines the changes QA employees seek, like clearer appeals processes and communication, progressive discipline, and PIPs as a means for progressive employee growth. “The current process as it stands is unilaterally harming our colleagues,” the thread argues. “The implementation of these demands is a necessary step forward in leadership listening to employees directly and effectively so that we can create a better ABK together.”

Readers will remember that this isn’t the first time ActiBlizz’s employee review processes have caused consternation: A toxic application of “stack ranking” employees working on WoW Classic and the fight against it by team lead Brian Birmingham ultimately led to his ousting.

In other Activision-Blizzard rot news, the company has agreed to a $35M settlement with the SEC over findings by the government body that the company didn’t properly disclose to investors how it was being investigated for workplace misconduct, as well as the discovery of a clause in employee separation agreements from 2016 to 2021 that required former staff members to inform Acti-Blizz if they were contacted by government agencies or labor boards – a clause that was finally removed in 2022.

The settlement amounts to a financial slap on the wrist; recall that the company reported a total $1.78B in revenue in Q3 2022 alone (its next financial report is expected on Monday), and the settlement only came to pass because investors were harmed. Readers will also remember this is the second such agreement ABK has made with a US federal government body; it settled with the Federal EEOC for $18M last March.

Activision-Blizzard is considered a controversial gaming company owing to a long string of scandals over the last few years, including the Blitzchung boycott, mass layoffs, labor disputes, and executive pay fiasco. In 2021, the company was sued by California for fostering a work environment rife with sexual harassment and discrimination, the disastrous corporate response to which compounded Blizzard’s ongoing pipeline issues and the widespread perception that its online games are in decline. Multiple state and federal agencies are investigating the company as employees unionize and call for Bobby Kotick’s resignation. As of 2023, the company is being acquired by no less than Microsoft.
Previous articleSquare-Enix says net sales are down across the board because of ‘weak’ catalog titles and no MMORPG expansion
Next articleWorld of Warcraft checks in with trading post issue updates, opens a cross-realm raid February 14

No posts to display

oldest most liked
Inline Feedback
View all comments