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Activision Blizzard Files Motion to Impound Albany Union Vote Ballots

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Blizzard Albany’s QA team is currently set to have their votes regarding unionization officially tallied on November 18th, but Activision Blizzard is stepping to to squash it, asking the National Labor Relations Board to postpone that tabulation.

Activision Blizzard filed a motion on Wednesday to impound ballots with the NLRB, saying that the count should be postponed until its appeal of a previous NLRB decision in the case can be formally heard.

Their appeal was filed alongside the motion to impound ballots.

Activision Blizzard is arguing that the review should be granted because the decision lacks precedent as “no [NLRB] decision addresses the appropriate scope of a bargaining unit in a video game studio.”

The Raven QA team voted to unionize by a count of 19 to 3.

“We deeply respect our employees’ right to choose whether to be represented by a union and to make an informed decision for themselves in a process where every voice is heard,” a spokesperson for the publisher said.

“Given the significant impact this decision could have for everyone on the Albany-based Diablo team and the tight integration of our operations there, we believe strongly that each of the 107 eligible employees deserves to have their votes counted, not just the 18 quality assurance testers who are important employees but make up a small fraction of the team. We are pursuing an appeal to the NLRB regarding its proposed bargaining unit, because companies as well as union organizers have the right to make their case.”

Communications Workers of America Secretary-Treasurer Sara Steffens responded to Activision Blizzard’s motion with an official statement issued to GamesIndustry.biz, which stated:

“Sadly, it’s no surprise that a company that has repeatedly tried to silence its employees, including by hiding reports of sexual violence, would want to muzzle workers’ voices once again by trying to stop them from voting in a union election. Workers have concluded that they need to protect themselves from this abusive employer by joining together into a strong union.

“Instead of staying neutral, Activision’s management continues to present the same failing arguments in a desperate attempt to interfere with workers’ legal right to make their own decisions about forming a union and negotiating a collective bargaining agreement. It’s clear the company’s executives feel threatened by workers organizing in New York, Wisconsin and across the country.

“We are confident in the NLRB’s response to these frivolous requests, and we will continue to push for Activision Blizzard employees’ right to organize without delay.”

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Microsoft Bringing Four Games to Rival Consoles

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Microsoft has responded to recent reports that there will be changes to it’s first-party strategy and has confirmed that four game titles will be released on rival consoles.

More specifically, Xbox head Phil Spencer said that ‘Starfield’ and ‘Indiana Jones’ will not be among the four titles heading to other platforms. Both games had a number of candidate platforms, per reports, adding that this is “not a change to our fundamental exclusive strategy.”

“We don’t damage Xbox and we can grow our business using what other platforms have to help us with that,” Spencer said, according to GamesIndustry.biz.  “Looking forward, I think there is an interesting story for us of introducing Xbox franchises to players on other platforms to get them more interested in Xbox. We think there’s a good brand value for Xbox there.”

Xbox president Sarah Bond announced that Activision Blizzard games would begin to be added into Game Pass offerings, starting with Diablo 4, which will be added on March 28th.

Additionally, Bond said that Microsoft is still working on hardware for the future and that their focus regarding the future is “delivering the largest technical leap you will ever have seen in a hardware generation.”

 

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Sega’s Revenue See Rise to $27 Billion

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Sega Sammy has released its financial report for the nine-month period that officially concluded on December 31st, 2023, and that report that demonstrated a rise in overall sales and profit despite a decrease in sales for Sega’s new titles.

That decline was offset by growth in pachislot and pachinko machines, however Sega had lowered its sales forecasts for the full financial year.

Here is a breakdown, courtesy of GamesIndustry.biz.

  • Net sales: ¥349.9 billion ($2.3 billion, up 28.7% year-on-year)
  • Operating income: ¥54.4 billion ($364 million, up 42.4% year-on-year)
  • Ordinary income: ¥57.2 billion ($383 million, up 42.7% year-on-year)
  • Net sales were up 130.3% to ¥120.2 billion ($805 million) in this segment
  • Ordinary income increased by 521.3% at ¥45.7 billion ($306 million).
  • Entertainment Contents segment, which includes video games, net sales were up 4.2% at ¥219.3 billion
  • Profit decreased by 52.5% to ¥19.7 billion ($131.8 million) as a result of weak game sales

You can read a breakdown of the entire report at GamesIndustry.biz here.

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CVC Capital Partners, Haveli Investments Acquire Jagex

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CVC Capital Partners and Haveli Investments have reached an agreement to acquire RuneScape developer Jagex from Carlyle Group, according to Sky News.

While financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed publicly, the Sky News report indicates that CVC was planning to spend £900 million on the purchase of Jagex.

Luxembourg-based CVC Capital Partners is one of the world’s largest private equity firms and Austin-based Haveli Investments is an established games investor.

CVC Capital Partners has previously backed Dead by Daylight creator Behaviour Interactive, London-based Predecessor developer Omeda Studios, and Tel Aviv-based Match Masters studio Candivore.

Jagex has more than 700 staff worldwide, and is best known for its RuneScape franchise and is currently working on the PC and console launch of Scum by Gamepires sometimes in 2024.

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