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Edmonton quality assurance testers pioneer video game union drive in Canada –



Video game quality assurance employees in Edmonton could soon be part of Canada’s first unionized workplace for an industry with a sordid history of worker exploitation.

Last month, the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 401 applied to the Alberta Labour Relations Board to become the certified bargaining agent for Keywords Studio staff contracted to BioWare. The process is still ongoing but the union expects a formal vote by staff in the next few weeks.

BioWare, owned by publishing behemoth Electronic Arts, is a major game studio responsible for hits from the Mass Effect and Dragon Age series. Keywords Studios contracts support work to many major developers globally.

CBC News spoke to three employees, whose identities are being protected for fear of reprisal. They said one of the catalysts for the unionization drive was a mandatory return-to-work order that has been rescinded since the union application started.

Keywords Studios workers were told to return to the office while BioWare employees were given more options.

BioWare’s physical offices are located in Edmonton’s Epcor Tower. (Stephen Cook/CBC)

A major issue is compensation. Employees said there were pay discrepancies between testers but pay typically hovers around Alberta’s minimum wage of $15 per hour. They said that does not constitute a living wage and is low for the skills required for the job, especially when compared to BioWare employees doing similar work.

“We’re hoping that the union gives us some level of assurance, honestly,” one worker said.

“An assurance that we can keep doing our jobs the way that we’re doing them and that, hopefully, we get some bargaining power in terms of wage increases.”

CBC News did not receive responses to requests for comment from Electronic Arts or Keywords Studios.

Industry labour issues

Low pay and compulsory overtime known as “crunch” are longstanding issues within the industry, albeit the latter are less likely to apply to roles like QA testers paid hourly wages. Social problems have also been brought to the forefront with a recent lawsuit by the state of California against Activision Blizzard for allegations of discrimination and sexual harassment.

“What were seen as sort of one-offs, or unfortunate aspects of the industry, are now being viewed as systemic problems with labour,” said Sean Gouglas, a professor of game studies at the University of Alberta.

Quality assurance workers test games for bugs before shipping, typically at the end of the development cycle but sometimes embedded throughout the process.

Gouglas said some people start in QA as a way to break into the highly competitive industry. They face many of the same labour issues that have plagued the trade for years.

“If all that is true for the industry generally — again not every company, but many companies — it is absolutely true for the quality assurance testers,” he said. 

“They are generally the lowest rung of the ladder in the game development process.”

Unionization rare

Unionization is rare within the North American video game development industry. 

The first union on the continent was formed just last year at Vodeo Games, a small indie studio whose employees work remotely in both Canada and the United States.

A second union was formed this year for the quality assurance department of Wisconsin-based Raven Software, which has worked on the Call of Duty franchise.

Johanna Weststar, a professor of employment relations at Western University, said the emergence of the grassroots organization group Game Workers Unite put unionization on the table.

Weststar said the organization — which is not a union itself but has chapters throughout the world — has worked to facilitate unionization and engage in partnerships with various union bodies.

“There’s a lot of what I would call experimentation happening in the worker organization in this industry right now.”

Weststar predicts more attempts will be made to unionize within the industry but cautioned that there has yet to be a watershed test case.

“These are still sort of unionizing at the margins with the most precarious workers, which is fair, there’s a degree of sense making there,” she said. 

“But it will be very interesting to see when some core game developers — so not QA — in a major studio, if a unionization attempt  happens there, then we’re really seeing precedent.”

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Wordle game help: 5-letter words with 'AME' in the middle – Dot Esports



Since its October 2021 release, Josh Wardle’s Wordle seems to have become the internet’s most popular word game.

Each day, a new five-letter word is the answer to the challenge, and players need to guess it in up to six tries. The word is the same for all players on the same calendar day and there are no clues but the letters themselves, which change colors depending on where they are in the word—and if they are in the word at all.

While Wordle may be a simple challenge on most days, there are times when you could get stuck. Maybe you found two or three letters, but you have no idea what your next guess should be, either because you can’t remember any words with that specific combination or because there are too many options to choose from. If that is the case today and all you have is “AME” right in the middle of the word, you can check the list below for inspiration.

Five-letter words with “AME” in the middle to try on Wordle


There are not that many options, but you will still need to narrow down the list to get the answer right. The first thing you can do is check all the letters that appear gray in your previous guesses, then eliminate all words that contain any of them. A second tip is to avoid plural forms. They are valid guesses if you need them, but Wordle will never pick a plural form as the answer to the daily puzzle.

If you’re still unsure and don’t want to wait until Wordle resets at midnight local time, you can always look up the answer to today’s puzzle (which we update around 12am CT) to avoid losing your streak.

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New LoL champion Bel'Veth is a transforming Void nightmare – PCGamesN



The next champion coming to League of Legends is a powerful, menacing empress from deep within the heart of the Void. Bel’Veth, who Riot Games calls a ‘God of Oblivion,’ has debuted in her official cinematic trailer, and she is a terrifying and Lovecraftian monster capable of mimicking human features – but only as a lure, since her primary motivation is to consume everything and everyone.

The cinematic, which you can view below, begins with Daughter of the Void Kai’Sa alighting in the ruined city of Belveth, which is now completely overgrown with eerily luminescent Void flora. Led by a toy ship carried aloft by glowing butterflies, Kai’Sa enters a natural chamber – only to discover the walls are alive with Void-infused, skeletal arms.

Bel’Veth approaches her from a rift that opens behind Kai’Sa. “I am everything the Void has consumed,” she says ominously, striding forward. Bel’Veth is tall, and shrouded with a cape that wraps around her in tight layers. Two huge horns emerge from a piece of armour on her upper back. “Just as I devoured this city, I will devour your world.”

Here’s the cinematic.

Kai’Sa’s attacks are useless against Bel’Veth, whose face begins to peel apart to reveal a glowing fungal flower… which is positioned over her true face. It’s revealed as Bel’Veth’s cape opens: a monstrous maw lined with razor-sharp teeth. Terrifying.

You can read more about Bel’Veth’s background in the short story Pinwheel, written by Jared Rosen. It’s available on the official League of Legends site.

Leaks suggest Bel’Veth is an ability power/attack damage hybrid jungler champion, with her ultimate ability being her transformation into her ‘true’ Void form. However, none of that’s been confirmed yet, as Bel’Veth has yet to appear on the Leage of Legends PBE.

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Experience Parallel Search Capabilities on the HUAWEI Mate Xs 2 with Petal Search – Canada NewsWire



Adapting to the always-on lives of today’s consumers, Petal Search allows users to double their efficiency experience a new layout of a search engine.

With Petal Search now optimised for foldable screens, users can search for an array of topics ranging from news, apps, shopping, nearby services, and many more on the 7.8-inch True-Chroma foldable display of the new HUAWEI Mate Xs 2. With one tap on the search bar, the Parallel Search function is automatically activated as details of the search is smoothly displayed across both screens in a dual-window layout. This interactive design allows users to multitask on larger screens improving efficiency even during leisure browsing.

Petal Search provides consumers with the Parallel Search function, allowing different portions of the search services that the consumer is using to be displayed on both screens at the same time. Valuable information will be doubled, complicated operations will be reduced by half, and the efficiency will be improved by 100%.

Parallel Search allows users to instantly view search results on one screen while still scrolling through for further options on the other. For example, scroll through nearby food options on one screen, while displaying detailed information of a selection option on the other, deals, menu, food photos , reviews, ordering online, etc. With such a versatile layout, consumers are able to experience a smooth and efficient browsing experience.

With online shopping being the go-to for most, research shows that roughly 51% of consumers visit up to 4 sites before deciding to purchase a product (Source: People Comparison Shop).  To aid consumers in their search, the new search function can display product details all on one page allowing easy comparison between 2 items. Furthermore, Petal Search allows users to run 2 search services simultaneously, such as video-streaming apps on one screen of the HUAWEI Mate Xs 2 while reading up on the latest news on the other.

All-In-One Search for an immersive search experience

With Petal Search’s Parallel Search function, consumers are able to choose between 2 different viewing modes. With the dual-window mode, consumers view different parts of the search on each screen increasing efficiency. Or if consumers require a better view, single-window mode provides a larger view for a more immersive search experience.

Enjoy an immersive search experience on the large screen of the new HUAWEI Mate Xs 2 with Petal Search’s All-In-One Search. By partnering up with over 3,000 top e-commerce, travel and local merchants, Petal Search optimizes shopping, travel and more than 20 other vertical search categories for users to search from.

Experience true search power when it comes to leisure. Find interesting deals, compare items and prices and much more without having to open additional tabs, when shopping online with Petal Search. Also plan your next holiday with Petal Search by comparing prices of flights and hotels all on one page. Come and take your search experience to the next level!

Based on Huawei’s 1+8+N all-scenario strategy and the adaptation capability of hardware and software, Petal Search aims to provide users with a seamless and consistent search experience.

To download and experience Petal Search, please visit:

SOURCE Petal Search, Huawei

For further information: Lingling Wang, [email protected]

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