Remote work is reportedly ending across Activision Blizzard. According to a developer at Blizzard Entertainment (known by their Twitter handle LeastMyHairIsOk), workers across the publisher's many studios will be expected to return to the office between April and June, depending on the studio.
Game studios went remote during the early days of the pandemic to protect employees, and for larger triple-A studios, there were some initial hurdles to get through. Blizzard specifically created several remote work layers, including cloud apps for personal computers and desktop infrastructure for latency and framerate-sensitive tools.
To this day, studios such as Bungie continue to offer remote work amidst the general perception that the pandemic is winding down to an end. Some recently opened studios like Wildflower Interactive, operate solely through remote work.
But as LeastMyHairIsOk points out in their thread, several Blizzard employees or their families will be put at high risk of infection if remote work is completely eliminated. They further argued that after nearly three years of working from home, "the majority of employees at ABK have no interest in returning to office either full or part time."
"Leadership isn't prepared for what is likely to happen - an exodus of talent as we find work elsewhere," they continued. "What incentive do our employees have to remain at ABK?"
Across their thread, they point out other reasons for the importance of remote work, including how it affects morale and the rise of housing costs. To them, Activision Blizzard is offering an ultimatum, one that they are not willing to concede to.
"To ABK leadership, we have been flexible long enough. It is your turn to bend, before you break this company irreparably."
Update: A spokesperson for Activision Blizzard confirmed to Game Developer that office work would resume on April 10 for Activision Publishing employees, and July 10 for Blizzard employees.
Employees for both divisions will be required to come to the office three days a week. The spokesperson added that the King portion of the publisher went back to the office in July 2022. The cadence of those in-office days are set by King's team leaders to fit the needs of each team.
"Activision Blizzard has been returning teams to the office over the past year," the spokesperson said. They continued by saying that the office days were created in partnership with the leadership of each team, and customized "based on what's best for the business and for the team."
"We look forward to the increased in-person collaboration and teamwork."
This post has been edited with a clarification from Activision Blizzard that King employees do not work five days a week in the office. Like with Activision Publishing and Blizzard Entertainment, their in-office days are determined by team leaders based on the best for King's various departments.
The majority of employees at ABK have no interest in returning to office either full or part time. This isn't to say that nobody sees the value in an office environment, but we've overall decided the risks do not outweight those benefits. 2/14— Non Biners, Drive Ins, and Dives💙 (@LeastMyHairIsOk) February 14, 2023