Microsoft’s contractor policy could disrupt Activision’s game development
Staff, 2023-01-19 14:02:21,
Microsoft’s contractor policy could slow down game development at Activision-Blizzard if the proposed merger goes through.
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In our previous coverage I’ve expressed thoughts on how Microsoft’s business plan could significantly disrupt Activision-Blizzard earnings by offering key premium games on Xbox Game Pass. I’ve also discussed that Microsoft could lay off many Activision Blizzard King employees post-merger, especially in “cost synergy” areas like marketing and HR. Now another interesting point could be worth exploring: How would Microsoft affect game development at Activision Blizzard King?
Microsoft’s recent 10,000 employee layoff spree could give us a few clues. On Twitter, ex-Halo developer Tyler Owens reminded me of Microsoft’s contractor policy, which got the wheels turning. “Between the contracting policies they abuse for tax incentives,” Owens said, expressing frustration due to all of the 343i employees that were recently laid off.
Microsoft’s contractor policy is actually a problem for its first-party studios and has led to the delaying and rebooting of various games. The policy essentially says that contractors cannot work at Microsoft for more than 18 months lest they become an employee. Microsoft doesn’t really want to pay contractors as employees, so instead of hiring them, the contractors are instead contracted to work for just 18 months. This isn’t a lot of time for game development.
A lot of game developers depend on external…
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