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Keywords Studios accused of insisting its staff still come to work | Pocket Gamer.biz


Keywords staff members have voiced their displeasure over the company’s response to the coronavirus outbreak.

As reported by Rank and File, QA staff members were still being told to come into work despite the rest of the industry going into remote working. Keywords managers also began to work from home.

Further complaints included the less than satisfactory health and safety procedures regarding the pandemic.

“The testers are seated in such close proximity that, as much as they tell us to wipe down our devices, the doorknobs are not being sanitised, the chairs, desks, phones, controllers… it’s nice to tell people it’s being sanitised,” said an employee

“People will forget.”

A second employee went on to claim management was refusing to send people home even if they were sick. Senior staff members claimed, “they’re not going to do anything until there’s a case in our building, on our staff.”

“Under pressure”

Keywords Studios CEO Andrew Day refuted these claims, and he insisted the company was putting staff first and was being as safe as it could be.

“These are unprecedented times and at Keywords Studios and we have been working tirelessly to design alternative production methods to keep our people safe and support our projects,”

“In particular, wherever possible and always in consultation with our clients, we are moving our teams to work from home (WFH) operations. While we are continuing to make the necessary changes to our infrastructure, training our staff, and organising the necessary safeguards and security processes to support WFH operations, we have implemented a whole series of measures to increase the safety of our studios and teams.

“We have not and never would put anyone under pressure to perform their duties in an environment they are not comfortable with and, when directed to do so, as part of city-wide shutdowns, we have very promptly shut our facilities without delay.

“As a provider of services to the global video games industry, we rely on our people every hour of every day and want the best possible for them yesterday, today and tomorrow. By keeping them safe and continuing to perform the tasks entrusted to us be that game development, art outsourcing, testing, localisation, audio recording, or player support we hope to preserve as many jobs for them as possible.”

Change of tune

Since this news came to light, Keywords has suspended penalties for permanent quality assurance testers. However, the firm has cancelled projects in a bid to enforce socially distancing – this could affect the staff and possibly lead to temporary layoffs further down the line.

Last month, the firm set up a new Electric Square studio in Singapore.



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