Xbox Boss Says He Will Recognise Raven Software’s Union After Acquisition Closes

Xbox Boss Says He Will Recognise Raven Software’s Union After Acquisition Closes
Photo: Kevork Djansezian, Getty Images

In today’s internal all-hands meeting with Xbox Game Studios employees, Head of Xbox Phil Spencer said that he would recognise Raven Software’s union. This came after the QA testers at Raven voted to form the first labour union at a major studio.

During a previous all-hands meeting a year and a half ago, Spencer said that he didn’t have much experience with unions. In today’s all-hands, Spencer addressed that previous statement. “Linda Norman and I have been spending a lot of time educating myself on unions.” Spencer said. “We absolutely support employees’ right to organise and form unions.”

Kotaku was able to verify this quote from a video taken of Xbox’s remote all-hands meeting.

“Once the deal closes, we would absolutely support [an] employees’ organisation that’s in place,” he said. “We think it is a right of employees and something that can be a part of a relationship between a company and people who work at the company.”

Spencer stresses that Microsoft does not currently have a relationship with Communication Workers of America nor the union, Game Workers Alliance.

The company’s $US69 ($96) billion deal to acquire publisher Activision Blizzard is being investigated by the Federal Trade Commission. “But when the deal closes, we will absolutely recognise [the union],” he added.

Kotaku reached out to Xbox, but was not able to obtain a comment at the time of publication.

According to Axios, Microsoft had previously said that it didn’t “object” to Activision Blizzard’s recognition of the Raven union. However, today’s all-hands statement from Spencer is the first time that Microsoft has directly committed to recognising the union.

Activision Blizzard (which Raven Software is part of) is still operating independently while the Xbox deal is being finalised. The massive publisher had fought a long battle to discourage its testers from unionizing.

Once the vote was finalised in favour of the union, Activision Blizzard told Kotaku, “We respect and believe in the right of all employees to decide whether or not to support or vote for a union. We believe that an important decision that will impact the entire Raven Software studio of roughly 350 people should not be made by 19 Raven employees.”

Activision has not yet responded to Kotaku’s request for comment about Spencer’s stated support for the union.


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