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Sunday, June 16, 2024

Microsoft Workers Form Gaming Industry’s Largest Union

  • Microsoft worker formed the company's first labor union in the U.S.
  • A majority of around 300 workers at ZeniMax Studio voted to join the union.

A group of video game testers have formed Microsoft’s first U.S. labor union — and it’s now the largest in the video game industry.

A majority of around 300 quality-assurance workers at Microsoft subsidiary ZeniMax Studios voted to unionize, according to The Communications Workers of America.

  • Microsoft purchased ZeniMax Studios for $7.5 billion in 2021.
  • The acquisition gave Microsoft control of publishing division Bethesda Softworks and game franchises including “Fallout” and “Doom.”

The election ended Dec. 31 and was formally certified Tuesday.

The unionization campaign began before Microsoft’s acquisition, according to senior game tester Wayne Barry, but reportedly accelerated as Microsoft aims to buy Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion

To appeal to U.S. regulators’ concerns surrounding mergers, the Xbox maker agreed with the CWA in June to stay neutral if Activision Blizzard workers wanted to form a union. 

FTC Findings

The FTC asked a judge in early December to block Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard, saying it would give Xbox exclusive access to Activision games. 

On Tuesday, an FTC attorney said there are no “substantive” settlement discussions between Microsoft and the Biden administration.

FTC administrative law judge Michael Chappell will rule on the deal — which also faces scrutiny in the European Union — after hearings scheduled for August 2023.

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