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How Activision Uses Collaboration to Create Video Games

"We’re seeing much more engagement in tickets and a willingness to adopt a tracking system because the barrier to entry is just so much lower."

Chris Codding

Manager, Central Tech Operations at Activision

Activison Blizzard is the maker of some of the world’s most iconic video games like Call of Duty, World of Warcraft and Candy Crush. The process of creating one of these games can take years, even decades to complete, so game makers like Activison are always looking for ways to speed up the development process. 

As their video game development process became more complex - involving multiple studios across the globe - Activision started looking for ways to help these teams better co-develop. “Traditionally you would have one title being developed by one studio with maybe some support from one or two other studios. That’s changing now to be a much more co-development scenario where you have multiple studios, multiple teams on one title,” said Chris Codding, Manager, Central Tech Operations at Activision. 

Homegrown Solution or Off the Shelf?

With adoption of Slack already high throughout the company, Activision quickly needed to figure out how to integrate their development process in Jira with Slack. They had a decision to make - create the software internally or buy something from a third party. 

“It seems like it should be fairly easy. You are just connecting Jira to Slack, but there actually is a lot of development involved there. So rather than have our engineers spend time building a custom tool for this and then support it, we decided we’d rather not have them spend their time on this,” said Codding. 

Through their research, Activision found Nextup’s Jira Integration+ and started the discovery process.

“From day one it’s been a very positive experience." said Codding.

"When I first looked at the app, the Nextup team reached out on the chat bot to say ‘hey we see you’re trying to install this, do you need any help?’ and that human contact was the start of a really cool rapport we were able to develop,” said Codding.

The team at Activision ultimately chose Jira Integration+ for their Jira to Slack integration of choice.

Onboarding through Word of Mouth 

With independent development teams all over the world, Activision prefers to let new software tools spread organically within their organization. They took this approach with the roll out of Jira Integration+.

“We really wanted this to be a success so we decided we would take a measured approach and really prove it out within central tech first. So we started with a few small teams and really learned the ins and outs of the platform,” said Codding.

Once those smaller teams felt confident using Integration+, Activision empowered them to use the app in shared channels across the organization. From there, adoption spread like wildfire.

“Someone will interact with the bot in a shared workspace and then someone else will say ‘Hey how are you doing that?’ So that’s been really cool to see it spread organically,” said Codding.

Main Benefits

Integration+ has Increased the Value of Jira

Since using Integration+, Activision has seen more usage of Jira as their development teams find it easier to work in using Slack. “We’re seeing much more engagement in tickets and a willingness to adopt a tracking system because the barrier to entry is just so much lower,” said Codding.

Eliminates the Need to Switch Context

Development teams are able to work more efficiently without having to switch context between Jira and Slack.

“You’re so focused on whatever it is you’re coding that having to switch over to Jira and update a ticket, that even though it’s just a few seconds, that’s still seconds away from your work," said Codding.

"Being able to do all that within Slack, that’s a huge time saver and value add.”
Improved Collaboration and Faster Response Times

The Activision teams are able to speed up their development process by swarming issues quickly within Slack. “Jira doesn’t really have that real-time-collaboration component that you have in Slack, where you can loop in other people on an issue and get that fast response. So what’s great now is we can pull that Jira information directly into Slack and have those conversations around it,” said Codding.

Hands On Support From Nextup

Nextup provides real-time support for Activision through a dedicated Slack channel and assists with any bugs, upgrades or new feature roll outs. “It’s cool to see the personal involvement from Nextup and I can tell there’s a lot of belief in the product," said Codding.

"I think they really want us to succeed as customers, so it’s just been a really cool relationship.”

You can watch the full customer testimonial video with Chris Codding, Manager, Central Tech Operations at Activision in the video below. 

1:45 - How collaboration at Activision began to change

4:30 - Why Activision needed a Slack to Jira integration

5:07 - Build vs buy dilemma

6:08 - The benefit of eliminating context switching

7:12 - How Jira Integration+ helped them get more out of Jira

8:57 - Implementation of Jira Integration+

10:43 - Nextup customer support experience

About Activision Blizzard:

Our mission, to connect and engage the world through epic entertainment has never been more important. Through communities rooted in our video game franchises we enable hundreds of millions of people to experience joy, thrill and achievement. We enable social connections through the lens of fun, and we foster purpose and a sense of accomplishment through healthy competition. Like sport, but with greater accessibility, our players can find purpose and meaning through competitive gaming. Video games, unlike any other social or entertainment media, have the ability to break down the barriers that can inhibit tolerance and understanding. 

Celebrating differences is at the core of our culture and ensures we can create games for players of diverse backgrounds in the 190 countries our games are played. As a member of the Fortune 500 and as a component company of the S&P 500, we have an extraordinary track record of delivering superior shareholder returns for over 30 years. 

Our enduring franchises are some of the world’s most popular, including Call of Duty®, Crash Bandicoot™, World of Warcraft®, Overwatch®, Hearthstone®, Diablo®, StarCraft®, Candy Crush™, Bubble Witch™, Pet Rescue™ and Farm Heroes™. Our sustained success has enabled the company to support corporate social responsibility initiatives that are directly tied to our franchises. As an example, our Call of Duty Endowment has helped find employment for over 90,000 veterans. Learn more information about Activision Blizzard and how we connect and engage the world through epic entertainment on the company's website,


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