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Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 QA testers share "sweatshop" experience

Published: 07:25, 27 June 2019
call of duty black ops 4 screenshot showing two characters shooting
Call of Duty: Black Ops 4

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 and Activision saw their share of controversy since the game's release. While most of it was aimed at the shady microtransaction practices, some mentioned the horrible working conditions, which now came to light.

People who worked on Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 already mentioned bad working conditions in the past. The QA testers were taking the brunt of it with long working hours and low wages.

More info was unearthed now, again by Jason Schreier, revealing the horrid conditions Activision's contractors worked under. 

The expose's intro already makes it look like Activision are using QA testers as slave labour that is not even allowed to properly participate in parties celebrating the success of Call of Duty: Black Ops 4.

While everyone was having beer and pizza, QA testers were told they could stay for 20 minutes maximum and not to drink any alcohol since they had to work later on.

That is only the tip of the segregation iceberg since the testers were generally treated as a lower class, denied better parking spots and even proper lunch. Testers are not allowed to eat with the rest of Activision employees, they are sometimes allowed to "scrounge for leftovers an hour later". Let that sink in for a moment.

Aside from being treated like a lower form of live beings, the testers were subjected to "sweatshop" conditions that the contractors sometimes joked about. Their wage was $13 per hour with 70 hour weeks.

Air conditioning would get turned off after the developers left the building, leaving the night shift testers in extremely hot conditions. The temperature would go up to 90°F / 32°C and the testers would be told the AC didn't work even though it worked all day long and would shut down at the same time each night. It took months of persuasion to get the higher-ups to leave AC on for the duration of the night.

Activision picture showing four characters from zombies mode Black Ops 4 Zombies

Full-time workers at Treyarch have some benefits compared to the QA team - overtime gets paid, they get parking slots in front of the building, office parties etc. They don't have it as bad as the testers but clearly states they are pressured into crunch or having two jobs due to the cost of living in Los Angeles.



Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 by Treyarch, Beenox and Activision

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Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, lovely day, innit?

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