A group of video game testers is forming the first union for video game workers. Microsoft in the US, which will also be the largest in the video game industry.
The Communications Workers of America said Tuesday that about 300 quality assurance workers at Microsoft’s video game subsidiary ZeniMax Studios voted to join the union.
Microsoft has already told the CWA that it would agree to unionize its Maryland-based video game subsidiary, fulfilling a promise it made to try to build public support for its $68.7 billion acquisition of another big game company, Activision Blizzard. .
Microsoft bought ZeniMax for $7.5 billion in 2021, giving the Xbox maker control of ZeniMax’s well-known game publishing arm, Bethesda Softworks, and popular game franchises like The Elder Scrolls, Doom, and Fallout.
The unionization drive was sparked, in part, by Microsoft’s ongoing bid to buy California-based gaming giant Activision Blizzard.
Video game workers form the first Microsoft union
Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft made a pact in June with the CWA union to remain neutral if Activision Blizzard workers sought to form a union.
Microsoft’s legally binding agreement applied specifically to Activision Blizzard workers after the merger closed.
But it also reflects Microsoft’s broader principles about handling unionization, which is still rare in the tech and gaming industries.
“They have definitely kept their word the whole time”said Beth Allen, a CWA spokeswoman.
“It is quite transcendental. Microsoft is an outlier in the way tech companies have been behaving.”
Unionized workers are based in Hunt Valley and Rockville, Maryland, as well as the cities of Austin and Dallas, in Texas.