Destiny developer Bungie goes a long way in some states

Fate 2 developer Bungie announced Tuesday that it will move toward a “digital-first” studio culture, meaning many employees will not have to physically work at the studio’s Bellevue, Washington headquarters. In a year where some companies – like Activision Blizzard and Riot Games – are mandating procedures a return-to-office with no mask or vaccine requirements, Bungie is changing many attitudes to this “fully remote” structure in seven approved states.

Sony Interactive Entertainment bought Bungie for $ 3.6 billion in January. Sony has not said whether any other studios will operate with a similar structure. Polygon has contacted Sony for clarification.

“Bungie is digital first,” tweeted Bungie Tuesday. “Most current and future roles will be completely remotely qualified in these states, and more coming soon!”

Washington, California, Oregon, Illinois, Florida, North Carolina and Texas are the seven states currently authorized for remote work with Bungie. Fate 2 game director Joe Blackburn tweeted that the approved states are restricted due to state tax rules: “It takes time to put a company this big to operate legally in so many different areas.”

A Bungie spokesman told Polygon the company intends to “open new locations,” saying that announcement is “just the beginning of our transition to a digital approach to hybrid work.” Bungie comes with “additional announcements” when available.

Bungie has dozens of open positions listed on her side careers, many of which are approved for hybrid or remote job opportunities in these seven states. Only a few positions require people to work on-site in Bungie’s Bellevue office.

A shift to a “digital-first” office culture stands in stark contrast to other gaming companies, such as Activision Blizzard and Riot Games, both of which require a number of employees to return to physical offices. At California-based Activision Blizzard, more than 100 employees walked out of work in early April to protest the company’s dropped COVID-19 vaccine mandate and its return-to-office policy. The company has since adjusted its guidelines to allow individual studies to make their own decisions. The general policy of the company is, however, that vaccination against coronavirus is not required.

Riot Games, based in Los Angeles, asked the same workers to return to their offices in April. Some employees expressed anger and confusion over they dropped the mask and vaccine requirements, while others have taken a return to the physical office. The company is so workers two optional work-from-home days (Monday and Friday), while Tuesday to Thursday is required. Masks are “strongly” encouraged, but optional, on Riot and the company does contract tracking via an app and RFID chips, employees told Polygon. An employee described the first week as “quietly chaotic.”

In a statement to the Deputy said a spokesman for Riot Games that Riot followed the lead of California’s local rules.

Over the COVID-19 pandemic, video game companies around the world shifted largely to fully remote work. This transition certainly led to delayed game as studies tailored to the change, but it is also allowed workers more flexibility and a better balance between work and private life. Work from home keep workers safer during the ongoing pandemic, but it is also allowed people to move away from expensive game development hubs like San Francisco or Seattle. It may be cheaper to work from home – potentially falling day care and commuting costs.

“Parents of young children will be forced to bring their child into a daycare center, which is expensive and could increase the chances of infection,” one Activision Blizzard working told Polygon. “Gas prices are rising and most of the affordable housing is miles away from the offices.”

The industry is becoming more and more competitive and the studios will have to accommodate to attract diverse top talents. A “digital-first” study culture is one way to do that, and Bungie will not find a shortage of developers in the approved seven states, many of which are already home to other video game companies, such as Epic Games in North Carolina.

Update: This story has been updated to include an email statement from a Bungie spokesman.

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