Raven QA Forms Union

A series of tweets from the Game Workers Alliance announces the, well, Game Workers Alliance. This is a union of Raven support staff, who have been on strike since last month, seeking permanent positions and other forms of job security. According to Jason Schreier this is the "first-ever union in the big-budget video game industry *in North America*." The eight tweets outline operating principles and ask that Raven parent Activision and Raven voluntarily recognize the union. Here is the content of the eight tweets freed from the tyranny of Twitter:
Our Principles:

  • Solidarity: The voices of workers should be heard by leadership. By uniting in solidarity, we can ensure our message is further reaching, and more effective.
  • Sustainability: Shortened development timelines sacrifice project quality and damage the mental and physical health of our team. “Crunch” is not healthy for any product, worker, or company.
    Realistic timelines and development plans are essential to achieving sustainability in the games industry.
  • Transparency: Leadership must communicate openly and frequently about any decisions that will affect the working life of their employees.
    Work and quality of life suffer when changes are unpredictable and explanations are withheld.
  • Equity: Quality Assurance Testers deserve respect, appropriate compensation, and career development opportunities.
    Quality Assurance is currently an undervalued discipline in the games and software industries. We strive to foster work environments where Quality Assurance Testers are respected and compensated for our essential role in the development process.
  • Diversity: All voices deserve to be heard. Empowering underrepresented voices is key to fostering a truly creative and successful work environment.

We ask that Raven Software and Activision leadership voluntarily recognize our union and respect our right to organize without retaliation or interference.

We aim to work together with leadership to create a healthy and prosperous work environment for all people, to develop successful and sustainable products, and to support the enjoyment of our players.

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21 Replies. 2 pages. Viewing page 1.
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21.
 
Re: Raven QA Forms Union
Jan 22, 2022, 10:57
21.
Re: Raven QA Forms Union Jan 22, 2022, 10:57
Jan 22, 2022, 10:57
 
Cutter wrote on Jan 21, 2022, 16:03:
eRe4s3r wrote on Jan 21, 2022, 14:41:
Cutter wrote on Jan 21, 2022, 12:45:
Equity: Quality Assurance Testers deserve respect, appropriate compensation, and career development opportunities.
Quality Assurance is currently an undervalued discipline in the games and software industries. We strive to foster work environments where Quality Assurance Testers are respected and compensated for our essential role in the development process.

Hah! How much do you think you should be paid for playing video games? This isn't real QA like you see with security/military HW/SW. When you can ask any schmoe on the street if he wants to test games for a few hours for minimum wage you'll have zero shortage of people for that. Hell they can get online volunteers for nothing. Essential role? This isn't a skilled trade. Looks like the QA department at Raven is done.

If you think QA is "playing games" you don't know what QA is. You may be doing something in a game, but for sure not playing it.

Uh, I worked for EA for a year in 94/95 in QA. Yeah, there's all kinds of grindy stuff to do in QA but it's not rocket surgery, anyone can do it. It's not a job that warrants good pay. Everyone should have those sorts of protections unions can afford people but you need to be realistic about what kind of pay people make for what kinds of jobs. Just look how far out of whack it is on the other end of the scale with executive pay. This is why a Goldilocks world should always be the rule in all things.

I certainly understand why you don't do it anymore. You were incompetent. Testing games requires organizational skill, intense patience, and usually some amount of coding ability, since you're not going to make your targets without automating some stuff.
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20.
 
Re: Raven QA Forms Union
Jan 22, 2022, 10:54
20.
Re: Raven QA Forms Union Jan 22, 2022, 10:54
Jan 22, 2022, 10:54
 
Cutter wrote on Jan 21, 2022, 12:45:
Equity: Quality Assurance Testers deserve respect, appropriate compensation, and career development opportunities.
Quality Assurance is currently an undervalued discipline in the games and software industries. We strive to foster work environments where Quality Assurance Testers are respected and compensated for our essential role in the development process.

Hah! How much do you think you should be paid for playing video games? This isn't real QA like you see with security/military HW/SW. When you can ask any schmoe on the street if he wants to test games for a few hours for minimum wage you'll have zero shortage of people for that. Hell they can get online volunteers for nothing. Essential role? This isn't a skilled trade. Looks like the QA department at Raven is done.
You have absolutely no idea how games are tested. They don't play games. They do awful shit like check to see if every single door opens correctly with every single piece of equipment you can possibly have equipped. It takes thousands of extremely tedious hours. Then most of their work is ignored because it's not cost or time effective to fix the bugs they find, and everyone blames them when the game is a pile of shit.
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19.
 
Re: Raven QA Forms Union
Jan 22, 2022, 08:23
19.
Re: Raven QA Forms Union Jan 22, 2022, 08:23
Jan 22, 2022, 08:23
 
I worked embedded in QA teams for several companies for over 25 years, both in gaming and practical systems, if anyone tells you that it's a simple job they are woefully mistaken.

Hell, I worked at EA in several different teams during the early 2000's and I can tell you that outside of a few specific development roles, QA was constantly doing nothing but scut work in tiny cubicles in a room that is about 800sqft for about 16-19 hours a day, 6 days a week.

QA, especially for game companies, is about as glamorous as someone's first day as a trash collector. Between having to be highly attentive and specific to testing criteria and having periods where you feel like everything you do is pointless, you live the duality of over-worked and under-utilized simultaneously. Experience has told me that broken release software is rarely the fault of the testing teams, despite the constant barrage of hate it receives.

It is by far the most dysfunctional department in any sector. It's also horribly underpaid, even for the entry-level positions.

When I started in QA at the end of the 90's as an entry level grunt I think I got paid like $22/hr and worked something like 75 hours a week for the first 8 months of employment, thinking that I'd be making bank by doing what I loved to do (breaking software), when in reality that the $22/hr was dependent on what my weekly task chart looked like... in reality I was getting closer to $13/hr because more often than not, my workflow consisted of sitting at my terminal waiting for a build that rarely came. Suffice to say that it was after leaving that job that I stated to take a more active part in my contractual discussions.

You rarely have any good stories out of QA unless you're embedded directly with a developer, and that is still a crapshoot sometimes.

This comment was edited on Jan 22, 2022, 20:52.
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18.
 
Re: Raven QA Forms Union
Jan 22, 2022, 02:48
18.
Re: Raven QA Forms Union Jan 22, 2022, 02:48
Jan 22, 2022, 02:48
 
RedEye9 wrote on Jan 21, 2022, 23:39:
Greentiger wrote on Jan 21, 2022, 23:31:
Cyberpunk 2077 is a great example of a rushed game with no QA. Everyone bitches that QA folks don't do their job or aren't worth paying a living wage but then they shove out big titles that are full of bugs and lament why didn't they QA this? Either you pay for good QA or the customers end up being the beta testers.
How do you know that cyberpunk wasn't QA'ed properly.
Just because a game is released in a buggy state doesn't mean it didn't have enough QA.

If a thousand bugs are documented during QA but the programmers/devs don't have enough time or resources to fix them, the finished product will still have a thousand bugs.

You're right and it was QA tested, but I wasn't stating it as fact, I was implying that no QA testing leads to inferior products and using CP2077 to make a point (here QA'd but ignored to make a deadline). But the game was rushed and the bugs fixed/being fixed after the release.

QA feels a lot like IT, ignored and mocked until a business needs something done. And ultimately the result is the same, whether you have no QA or just ignore the QA results, a buggy product that people either put up with or abandon.

This comment was edited on Jan 22, 2022, 02:58.
17.
 
Re: Raven QA Forms Union
Jan 22, 2022, 01:54
17.
Re: Raven QA Forms Union Jan 22, 2022, 01:54
Jan 22, 2022, 01:54
 
RedEye9 wrote on Jan 21, 2022, 23:39:
Greentiger wrote on Jan 21, 2022, 23:31:
Cyberpunk 2077 is a great example of a rushed game with no QA. Everyone bitches that QA folks don't do their job or aren't worth paying a living wage but then they shove out big titles that are full of bugs and lament why didn't they QA this? Either you pay for good QA or the customers end up being the beta testers.
How do you know that cyberpunk wasn't QA'ed properly.
Just because a game is released in a buggy state doesn't mean it didn't have enough QA.

If a thousand bugs are documented during QA but the programmers/devs don't have enough time or resources to fix them, the finished product will still have a thousand bugs.

Word to that, unless a super polished game, documenting bugs is a lot easier than fixing bugs. Either way, all of these big companies have enough money to hire more people and seem to choose not to.
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16.
 
Re: Raven QA Forms Union
Jan 21, 2022, 23:39
16.
Re: Raven QA Forms Union Jan 21, 2022, 23:39
Jan 21, 2022, 23:39
 
Greentiger wrote on Jan 21, 2022, 23:31:
Cyberpunk 2077 is a great example of a rushed game with no QA. Everyone bitches that QA folks don't do their job or aren't worth paying a living wage but then they shove out big titles that are full of bugs and lament why didn't they QA this? Either you pay for good QA or the customers end up being the beta testers.
How do you know that cyberpunk wasn't QA'ed properly.
Just because a game is released in a buggy state doesn't mean it didn't have enough QA.

If a thousand bugs are documented during QA but the programmers/devs don't have enough time or resources to fix them, the finished product will still have a thousand bugs.

- At this point, Windows is the OS equivalent of Stockholm Syndrome. -
Burrito of Peace
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15.
 
Re: Raven QA Forms Union
Jan 21, 2022, 23:31
15.
Re: Raven QA Forms Union Jan 21, 2022, 23:31
Jan 21, 2022, 23:31
 
Cyberpunk 2077 is a great example of a rushed game with no QA. Everyone bitches that QA folks don't do their job or aren't worth paying a living wage but then they shove out big titles that are full of bugs and lament why didn't they QA this? Either you pay for good QA or the customers end up being the beta testers.
14.
 
Re: Raven QA Forms Union
Jan 21, 2022, 20:50
14.
Re: Raven QA Forms Union Jan 21, 2022, 20:50
Jan 21, 2022, 20:50
 
It seems like clockwork these days where every opportunity for reasonable worker concerns gets side tracked by at least one woke ass demand. In this description, how in the hell is diversity different than solidarity? They can't even have their union leader make competent principle declarations, why would anyone expect better in their bug reports...
They need to stick to original concerns everyone can get behind such as being told they are going to have a stable job, then be let go soon after. (Especially right after a move to work in person locally)
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13.
 
Re: Raven QA Forms Union
Jan 21, 2022, 19:43
13.
Re: Raven QA Forms Union Jan 21, 2022, 19:43
Jan 21, 2022, 19:43
 
Hey this guy worked for QA for a year 30 years ago! He knows everything about QA and is always right!
Avatar 17249
12.
 
Re: Raven QA Forms Union
Jan 21, 2022, 18:10
Jivaro
 
12.
Re: Raven QA Forms Union Jan 21, 2022, 18:10
Jan 21, 2022, 18:10
 Jivaro
 
Good luck to the workers.

You all making it sound like their job has to suck to need a union, you all need to think that through a bit.
Avatar 55841
11.
 
Re: Raven QA Forms Union
Jan 21, 2022, 18:04
Quboid
 
11.
Re: Raven QA Forms Union Jan 21, 2022, 18:04
Jan 21, 2022, 18:04
 Quboid
 
Cutter wrote on Jan 21, 2022, 16:03:
eRe4s3r wrote on Jan 21, 2022, 14:41:
Cutter wrote on Jan 21, 2022, 12:45:
Equity: Quality Assurance Testers deserve respect, appropriate compensation, and career development opportunities.
Quality Assurance is currently an undervalued discipline in the games and software industries. We strive to foster work environments where Quality Assurance Testers are respected and compensated for our essential role in the development process.

Hah! How much do you think you should be paid for playing video games? This isn't real QA like you see with security/military HW/SW. When you can ask any schmoe on the street if he wants to test games for a few hours for minimum wage you'll have zero shortage of people for that. Hell they can get online volunteers for nothing. Essential role? This isn't a skilled trade. Looks like the QA department at Raven is done.

If you think QA is "playing games" you don't know what QA is. You may be doing something in a game, but for sure not playing it.

Uh, I worked for EA for a year in 94/95 in QA. Yeah, there's all kinds of grindy stuff to do in QA but it's not rocket surgery, anyone can do it. It's not a job that warrants good pay. Everyone should have those sorts of protections unions can afford people but you need to be realistic about what kind of pay people make for what kinds of jobs. Just look how far out of whack it is on the other end of the scale with executive pay. This is why a Goldilocks world should always be the rule in all things.

So they ask for "appropriate compensation", you say they should should be "realistic about what kind of pay" they get ... isn't that the same thing? Sure, their idea of appropriate compensation might be over the top but from the few facts given, it seems like their goal is both what you think they should get and somehow what you mock.

Your impulse to shit on any workers' consideration and rights - when they don't apply to you - is exactly how the overpaid executives divide and conquer their employees.
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10.
 
Re: Raven QA Forms Union
Jan 21, 2022, 17:37
Rilcon
 
10.
Re: Raven QA Forms Union Jan 21, 2022, 17:37
Jan 21, 2022, 17:37
 Rilcon
 
There really needs to be a better distinction between publisher / outsourced QA, and actual dev QA. If these are Raven QA, they're most likely embedded in the teams, testing tools or features in editor, writing plans based on scribbled designer and engineer post-its, running all sorts of programs to check outputs, writing, running, and managing "automated" tests, dealing with producers, and overall doing a whole lot more than "just playing the game and taking notes".

I did playtest / playthrough QA for a year, then moved on to actual QA for 7ish years. It's a massive difference.
9.
 
Re: Raven QA Forms Union
Jan 21, 2022, 17:25
9.
Re: Raven QA Forms Union Jan 21, 2022, 17:25
Jan 21, 2022, 17:25
 
Cutter wrote on Jan 21, 2022, 12:45:
Equity: Quality Assurance Testers deserve respect, appropriate compensation, and career development opportunities.
Quality Assurance is currently an undervalued discipline in the games and software industries. We strive to foster work environments where Quality Assurance Testers are respected and compensated for our essential role in the development process.

Hah! How much do you think you should be paid for playing video games? This isn't real QA like you see with security/military HW/SW. When you can ask any schmoe on the street if he wants to test games for a few hours for minimum wage you'll have zero shortage of people for that. Hell they can get online volunteers for nothing. Essential role? This isn't a skilled trade. Looks like the QA department at Raven is done.
Never mind.
I'm a smoldering volcano of virility. At least, that's what I tell myself.
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8.
 
Re: Raven QA Forms Union
Jan 21, 2022, 16:15
8.
Re: Raven QA Forms Union Jan 21, 2022, 16:15
Jan 21, 2022, 16:15
 
eRe4s3r wrote on Jan 21, 2022, 14:41:
Cutter wrote on Jan 21, 2022, 12:45:
Equity: Quality Assurance Testers deserve respect, appropriate compensation, and career development opportunities.
Quality Assurance is currently an undervalued discipline in the games and software industries. We strive to foster work environments where Quality Assurance Testers are respected and compensated for our essential role in the development process.

Hah! How much do you think you should be paid for playing video games? This isn't real QA like you see with security/military HW/SW. When you can ask any schmoe on the street if he wants to test games for a few hours for minimum wage you'll have zero shortage of people for that. Hell they can get online volunteers for nothing. Essential role? This isn't a skilled trade. Looks like the QA department at Raven is done.

If you think QA is "playing games" you don't know what QA is. You may be doing something in a game, but for sure not playing it.
It kinda is. Did it for THQ for a bit. And you play games, while taking notes on where certain issues occur to go back to the devs for them to figure out how to keep that issue from happening again. But you still have to play the game. You just have to keep track of things a bit more. And its for sometimes REALLY weird things, like button-mashing to see if it might screw up, or 50+ button presses in certain screens, etc... It's not a hard job. Just time-consuming, to ferret out the bugs, so the actual consumer doesn't run into the issues that crop up.
Apr 14, 2022, 12:31
Sempai
"i hope this ones good. I'm ready for the farts and dildos! "
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7.
 
Re: Raven QA Forms Union
Jan 21, 2022, 16:05
7.
Re: Raven QA Forms Union Jan 21, 2022, 16:05
Jan 21, 2022, 16:05
 
Fantaz wrote on Jan 21, 2022, 14:55:
eRe4s3r wrote on Jan 21, 2022, 14:41:
Cutter wrote on Jan 21, 2022, 12:45:
Equity: Quality Assurance Testers deserve respect, appropriate compensation, and career development opportunities.
Quality Assurance is currently an undervalued discipline in the games and software industries. We strive to foster work environments where Quality Assurance Testers are respected and compensated for our essential role in the development process.

Hah! How much do you think you should be paid for playing video games? This isn't real QA like you see with security/military HW/SW. When you can ask any schmoe on the street if he wants to test games for a few hours for minimum wage you'll have zero shortage of people for that. Hell they can get online volunteers for nothing. Essential role? This isn't a skilled trade. Looks like the QA department at Raven is done.

If you think QA is "playing games" you don't know what QA is. You may be doing something in a game, but for sure not playing it.

Unfortunately Cutter is kind of right. That's sort of still the situation of QA at a lot of game companies. Anyone who is smart would do game QA for maybe only a few years just to get experience and then move to other industries, such as testing mobile devices or infotainment systems on mission critical systems for big companies. It will be boring but you get paid a decent pay, up to six figures. Game companies will always pay shit.

Exactly, that was my goal in QA with EA. Unfortunately, being in Vancouver that meant I would have had to be working on sports titles so I left when I knew I wouldn't get relocated to the US. If I had lived in the US it would have been a whole different story.
"Some motherfuckers are always trying to ice skate up hill." - Blade
Avatar 25394
6.
 
Re: Raven QA Forms Union
Jan 21, 2022, 16:03
6.
Re: Raven QA Forms Union Jan 21, 2022, 16:03
Jan 21, 2022, 16:03
 
eRe4s3r wrote on Jan 21, 2022, 14:41:
Cutter wrote on Jan 21, 2022, 12:45:
Equity: Quality Assurance Testers deserve respect, appropriate compensation, and career development opportunities.
Quality Assurance is currently an undervalued discipline in the games and software industries. We strive to foster work environments where Quality Assurance Testers are respected and compensated for our essential role in the development process.

Hah! How much do you think you should be paid for playing video games? This isn't real QA like you see with security/military HW/SW. When you can ask any schmoe on the street if he wants to test games for a few hours for minimum wage you'll have zero shortage of people for that. Hell they can get online volunteers for nothing. Essential role? This isn't a skilled trade. Looks like the QA department at Raven is done.

If you think QA is "playing games" you don't know what QA is. You may be doing something in a game, but for sure not playing it.

Uh, I worked for EA for a year in 94/95 in QA. Yeah, there's all kinds of grindy stuff to do in QA but it's not rocket surgery, anyone can do it. It's not a job that warrants good pay. Everyone should have those sorts of protections unions can afford people but you need to be realistic about what kind of pay people make for what kinds of jobs. Just look how far out of whack it is on the other end of the scale with executive pay. This is why a Goldilocks world should always be the rule in all things.
"Some motherfuckers are always trying to ice skate up hill." - Blade
Avatar 25394
5.
 
Re: Raven QA Forms Union
Jan 21, 2022, 14:55
5.
Re: Raven QA Forms Union Jan 21, 2022, 14:55
Jan 21, 2022, 14:55
 
eRe4s3r wrote on Jan 21, 2022, 14:41:
Cutter wrote on Jan 21, 2022, 12:45:
Equity: Quality Assurance Testers deserve respect, appropriate compensation, and career development opportunities.
Quality Assurance is currently an undervalued discipline in the games and software industries. We strive to foster work environments where Quality Assurance Testers are respected and compensated for our essential role in the development process.

Hah! How much do you think you should be paid for playing video games? This isn't real QA like you see with security/military HW/SW. When you can ask any schmoe on the street if he wants to test games for a few hours for minimum wage you'll have zero shortage of people for that. Hell they can get online volunteers for nothing. Essential role? This isn't a skilled trade. Looks like the QA department at Raven is done.

If you think QA is "playing games" you don't know what QA is. You may be doing something in a game, but for sure not playing it.

Unfortunately Cutter is kind of right. That's sort of still the situation of QA at a lot of game companies. Anyone who is smart would do game QA for maybe only a few years just to get experience and then move to other industries, such as testing mobile devices or infotainment systems on mission critical systems for big companies. It will be boring but you get paid a decent pay, up to six figures. Game companies will always pay shit.
Avatar 571
4.
 
Re: Raven QA Forms Union
Jan 21, 2022, 14:41
4.
Re: Raven QA Forms Union Jan 21, 2022, 14:41
Jan 21, 2022, 14:41
 
Cutter wrote on Jan 21, 2022, 12:45:
Equity: Quality Assurance Testers deserve respect, appropriate compensation, and career development opportunities.
Quality Assurance is currently an undervalued discipline in the games and software industries. We strive to foster work environments where Quality Assurance Testers are respected and compensated for our essential role in the development process.

Hah! How much do you think you should be paid for playing video games? This isn't real QA like you see with security/military HW/SW. When you can ask any schmoe on the street if he wants to test games for a few hours for minimum wage you'll have zero shortage of people for that. Hell they can get online volunteers for nothing. Essential role? This isn't a skilled trade. Looks like the QA department at Raven is done.

If you think QA is "playing games" you don't know what QA is. You may be doing something in a game, but for sure not playing it.
Avatar 54727
3.
 
Re: Raven QA Forms Union
Jan 21, 2022, 14:17
3.
Re: Raven QA Forms Union Jan 21, 2022, 14:17
Jan 21, 2022, 14:17
 
Cutter wrote on Jan 21, 2022, 12:45:
Hah! How much do you think you should be paid for playing video games? This isn't real QA like you see with security/military HW/SW. When you can ask any schmoe on the street if he wants to test games for a few hours for minimum wage you'll have zero shortage of people for that. Hell they can get online volunteers for nothing. Essential role? This isn't a skilled trade. Looks like the QA department at Raven is done.
That's a pretty short sided view of testing in games. People should be paid their worth, and respected. No matter the role. Have you ever heard of an SDET Cutter?
2.
 
Re: Raven QA Forms Union
Jan 21, 2022, 12:45
2.
Re: Raven QA Forms Union Jan 21, 2022, 12:45
Jan 21, 2022, 12:45
 
Equity: Quality Assurance Testers deserve respect, appropriate compensation, and career development opportunities.
Quality Assurance is currently an undervalued discipline in the games and software industries. We strive to foster work environments where Quality Assurance Testers are respected and compensated for our essential role in the development process.

Hah! How much do you think you should be paid for playing video games? This isn't real QA like you see with security/military HW/SW. When you can ask any schmoe on the street if he wants to test games for a few hours for minimum wage you'll have zero shortage of people for that. Hell they can get online volunteers for nothing. Essential role? This isn't a skilled trade. Looks like the QA department at Raven is done.
"Some motherfuckers are always trying to ice skate up hill." - Blade
Avatar 25394
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