The first US video game studio to unionize is shutting down

Workers at Vodeo Games made history last year.

Vodeo Games

The first video game studio in the US to unionize is shutting down. On Wednesday, Beast Breaker developer Vodeo Games announced it had failed to secure funding to produce an additional release beyond its debut title. “Despite a year of avid efforts, we’ve been unable to secure funding for our next project from publishers and investors,” Vodeo Games said in a tweet spotted by Polygon. “As such, we’ve run out of funds and aren’t able to keep the team together — and there simply is no Vodeo without our incredible team.”

Vodeo Games was founded in 2021 by Threes! designer Asher Vollmer. The studio released its first game that same year. According to Vodeo’s website, it had been working on a new project before today’s announcement. The studio will complete work on the Steam version of Beast Breaker before closing shop.

At the end of last year, Vodeo’s all-remote team of 13 successfully unionized with Code-CWA, the Communication Workers of America's Campaign to Organize Digital Employees. Despite the management of Vodeo Games recognizing the studio’s union, the two sides never came to a bargaining agreement. According to Vodeo Workers United, negotiations came to an end when it became apparent the studio could not secure additional funding. The group said it would share what it learned with other industry workers to help them organize their workplaces.

Since workers at Vodeo unionized, employees at other studios have attempted to follow suit. Most notably, there’s the QA division at Activision's Raven Software, which voted in May to form the Game Workers Alliance. More recently, quality assurance staff at Blizzard Albany, formerly Vicarious Visions, filed for a union election.