Blizzard QA workers are paid less than those at Bungie and Riot

by Danny Craig  ·  Updated 
Blizzard QA workers are paid less than those at Bungie and Riot
Activision Blizzard

The newly introduced pay transparency laws in California and Washington have highlighted that Blizzard’s QA roles pay considerably less than comparable positions at other companies, including Bungie and Riot Games.

The details:

  • As of January 1, 2023, all jobs based in the states of California and Washington will require pay ranges to be provided in each job listing. The laws have already offered the ability to view the average rates of pay at the companies that operate in these states, including Activision-Blizzard.
  • If we compare the salary ranges of three QA roles requiring similar levels of experience, Bungie’s Destiny Test Lead, Riot’s QA Engineer II, and Blizzard’s Diablo IV Test Lead, it becomes apparent that there’s a significant gap between Blizzard’s offering and the other two ranges. Riot and Bungie offer salary ranges of $98,010—$138,008 and $86,000—$108,000, respectively, with Blizzard’s position only paying out $49,600—$91,760, more than half of the other two opportunities at the lower-end.
  • In the past year, we’ve seen two Activision-Blizzard QA departments unionize, despite the parent company’s attempts to block the votes. Raven Software won their union vote in May 2022, with Blizzard Albany following in December 2022. Both unions were created due to low wages, a culture of overworking, and, in Raven’s case, layoffs. The World of Warcraft support studio Proletariat is also planning to form a third union in the near future. The transparency required by Activision-Blizzard regarding their pay ranges might provide some extra pressure to bring them more in line with other notable gaming companies.

What else is happening at Activision-Blizzard?

  • Microsoft’s attempts at acquiring Activision-Blizzard are still ongoing despite the Federal Trade Commission's move to block the purchase. Microsoft recently ran a pro-union advertisement in the Washington Post titled "A New Year Opens New Doors." The ad focuses on promoting a worker-friendly image, with Microsoft mentioning the attempted acquisition inside the ad: "We hope to bring the same agreement and principles to Activision Blizzard, which Microsoft has proposed to acquire."
  • Daniel Alegre, former Chief Operating Officer and President at Activision-Blizzard, is leaving the company to join blockchain organization Yuga Labs as CEO. The company is behind the Bored Ape and CryptoPunks collections of NFT. The appointment is set to become official in the first half of 2023.
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