Sega Is Unionizing In A Huge Move For Video Game Workers

Sega of America’s Irvine have filed for a union election with the National Labor Relations Board.

By Jason Collins | Updated

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Following the footsteps of Activision Blizzard, whose acquisition by Microsoft still awaits UK approval, workers at Sega of America’s Irvine, California, office have filed for a union election with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The newly-formed union, called Allied Employees Guild Improving Sega (AEGIS), partnered up with the Communications Workers of America, which makes AEGIS the largest video gaming union in the United States.

Kotaku reports that over 140 workers at Sega of America have announced their plans to form a new union to fight for better pay, adequate staffing, and more balanced schedules—all three of which are notoriously bad across the industry, especially when it comes to QA departments. Furthermore, though the petition with the NLRB has already been signed, the union is calling on Sega to voluntarily recognize it, allowing the workers to have a say in the decisions that affect their working conditions, pay, and job security.

QA lead at Sega, Mohammad Saman, has stated that AEGIS is looking to protect what already makes Sega great and help build an even stronger company. Sonic the Hedgehog‘s maker also makes a trove of other popular titles, such as Yakuza and Persona, three gaming franchises that are particularly popular among Western gamers. Sega of America branch of the Japanese giant that killed Sonic is responsible for testing, localizing, and marketing said games, and many other Sega gaming franchises, to the American market.

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In addition to QA testers, which are generally marginalized, underpaid, and overworked in the gaming industry, the proposed union also includes Sega community management employees, product developers, and even brand marketing employees, which makes it more than just the biggest union, but also one that has the most organizationally diverse units. We’re quite happy about this push among QA testers and other gaming industry employees. Giving them more power also means better quality games, which ultimately serve both employees and gamers.

This means that gaming giants such as EA, for example, wouldn’t be able to pressure developers into very tight deadlines in order to paddle nearly identical releases at the sub-par quality for profit (and we’re certainly not short on the list of gaming titles that fall under this category). Battlefield 2042 is a good example; Cyberpunk 2077 as well, though CD Projekt RED made good on its promise and made the game playable after all. So, it would seem that now is Sega’s turn.

QA workers at Raven Software, credited with Call of Duty games, were the first to form a union at a major gaming publisher, followed by testers at Activision Blizzard, BioWare, and Bethesda. The overwhelming quality of World of Warcraft Dragonflight and record-breaking Modern Warfare 2 are great examples of what you get when the tables turn, and more power is granted to those actually working on the gaming titles instead of rubbing their hands in greed over increased profit margins. If Sega takes a page from any of these “books,” it might finally come up with a good Sonic game.