A group of around 300 QA testers working for ZeniMax Studios – the parent company of Bethesda, Arkane, MachineGames, and more – have successfuly unionized after a vote, as company owner Microsoft has voluntarily recognized the union.
Similar to Raven Software and Blizzard Albany, the ZeniMax Workers United group has now officialy formed a union with the Communications Workers of America (CWA), becoming the largest union in the video game industry in North America at the time of writing. It's also the first time a union of this kind has been recognized voluntarily within the US, as Raven Software and Blizzard Albany owner Activision Blizzard forced unions to petition the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).
Earlier this year, Microsoft claimed that it would work "collaboratively" with employees wanting to unionize, claiming it wouldn't seek to stop any efforts from doing so following reports of executives committing "verbal abuse and sexual harassment." True to its word, Microsoft has remained neutral in ZeniMax Workers United's unionization attempts, something that CWA president Christopher Shelton has applauded.
As for what happens next, ZeniMax Workers United will now have to enter contract negotiations with Microsoft, which could potentially net QA testers across ZeniMax pay increases or other benefits. Hopefully, if negotiations go smoothly, workers across the video game industry will be inspired to do the same with their respective studios. Whether or not companies will put up more a fight like Activision Blizzard has remains to be seen.
In other Bethesda news, those excited for the upcoming release of Starfield think that the game could potentially launch on April 12, which just so happens to be the International Day of Human Space Flight. Rumors surrounding an April release have raged for a while, although a new Xbox store page for the title has backed them up by revealing Starfield will launch in the first half of 2023.
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