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What You Missed This Week in Video Games

Posted January 4, 2023 at 2:50 pm
Sam Martinelli
The Fly

Activision’s Proletariat studio files for union election

“Game On” is The Fly’s weekly recap of the stories powering up or beating down video game stocks.

ACTIVISION UNION: 

Last week, the Communications Workers of America said that a supermajority of workers at Activision Blizzard’s (ATVI) Proletariat studio have announced that they are forming the Proletariat Workers Alliance/CWA and have filed for a union representation election with the National Labor Relations Board. Prior to filing for an election, the workers asked that management voluntarily recognize their union and respect their right to organize without retaliation or interference. The company has not said whether or not they will recognize the union. The Proletariat workers are the third group of Activision Blizzard workers to file for a union representation election with CWA. The 57 workers in the unit include animators, designers, engineers, producers and quality assurance workers. Earlier this year, quality assurance workers at Activision’s Raven Software studio in Wisconsin and Blizzard Albany won their union elections, despite Activision Blizzard’s repeated attempts to prevent workers from voting. “Microsoft (MSFT) is in the process of acquiring Activision Blizzard, and in early December, after workers at its ZeniMax video game studio decided to organize a union with CWA, the company agreed to remain neutral and agreed to a streamlined process for determining if a majority of workers wanted to join the union,” the union said. “Microsoft has entered into a legally binding agreement with CWA to remain neutral and provide a streamlined process for workers to choose union representation at Activision Blizzard if their acquisition of the company is successful.”

META’S VR BET HASN’T PAID OFF YET: 

Facing an advertising slowdown, Mark Zuckerberg and Meta (META) went forward with plans to “spend billions of dollars developing the metaverse,” and Virtual reality devices, wrote CNBC’s Jonathan Vanian last week. Meta’s “bet on virtual reality” has not yet paid off, as sales of VR headsets in the U.S. this year declined 2% from 2021 to $1.1B as of early December, added the CNBC story, citing data shared by research firm NPD Group. Meanwhile, data from CCS Insight reveals that global shipments of VR headsets and augmented reality devices fell over 12% year-over-year to 9.6M in 2022.

The report comes as Sony’s (SONY) next-generation VR headset, the PlayStation VR 2, launches in February at $550. Ben Arnold, NPD’s consumer electronics analyst, told CNBC that while the PSVR2 will “give the market kind of a shot in the arm,” it will likely not influence the overall market as much as the Meta Quest 2 because the PSVR2 requires owners to have a PlayStation 5 in order to power the device. “The total addressable market of the PSVR2 is going to be PlayStation owners,” Arnold said.

TAKE-TWO: 

Barron’s writer Jack Hough said that Take-Two (TTWO) had a “terrible” 2022, but now could be the time to buy. Shares in the game maker fell 43% in 2022, but the company is betting big on game demand in the coming years, Hough notes.

Originally Posted January 3, 2023 – What You Missed This Week in Video Games

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