Image: Activision

Activision Blizzard has laid off over a dozen quality assurance contractors for Call of Duty developer Raven Software. The in-house studio has worked on numerous COD titles such as Vanguard, Black Ops Cold War, and Warzone. The restructuring was a complete surprise, as the contractors had been promised raises for months. Instead, they were called into meetings and told they were being let go. No reason was given, but they were told they did nothing wrong.

The last day for the contractors will be January 28, but the company has allowed them to leave earlier. Some have opted to do so. “Our team is destroyed and absolutely no one is going to want to work even if they got promoted,” one said. “I was looking to leave because of the reputation Activision has had lately and I don’t want to support the company any longer. … It’s an embarrassment working for Activision, in my opinion.”

Troubling Times

Things at Activision Blizzard have been tumultuous for the last few months. Lawsuits over allegations of sexual misconduct and harassment have been in progress since July. Recently, the board of directors stated a “Workplace Responsibility Committee” would be formed in response to the allegations. Staff also staged a walkout calling for the resignation of CEO Bobby Kotick.

The Game Awards

As the 2021 Game Awards nears its December 9 kickoff, presenter Geoff Keighley has expressed support for employees who have been coming forward. He doesn’t want to prevent developers from being able to showcase their games and is trying to figure out how to best navigate the situation. He recently announced Activision would not be attending the event, but its games will retain their nominations.

It’s worth noting that Activision Blizzard serves on the Games Awards advisory board. Other QA testers have been notified that the company has ceased using one of its staffing partners, Tapfin. In turn, it is expanding the role of another, Volt. The remaining testers will become employees of Volt. Activision Blizzard will continue to meet with workers through December 8 to let them know the status of their jobs. Those who are retained and are promoted to full time will receive raises, benefits, and bonuses.

Sources: The Washington Post (via PC Gamer), Kotaku, Polygon (1, 2, 3)

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Peter Brosdahl

As a child of the 70’s I was part of the many who became enthralled by the video arcade invasion of the 1980’s. Saving money from various odd jobs I purchased my first computer from a friend of my...

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10 Comments

  1. On one hand – yeah that sucks for those people.

    On the other – it’s a business, people get hired when needed, and laid off when not — all the time, across many industries.

    This isn’t necessarily some vindicative action. Activision only has has responsibility to exactly one group of people – the shareholders. And if your abilities and position don’t have direct and immediate impact on that group of people, you aren’t going to be around long. If Raven didn’t have something in the near term that is ready for QA to actively work on, I’d expect them to get laid off too.

  2. The Vanguard reviews are brutally bad, so the QA team gets thrown under the bus. Smooth.

    But honestly, they were contractors and they should be used to living day to day. I’ve dealt with many IT contractors and they get used up and tossed like kleenex on a daily basis.

  3. [QUOTE=”MadMummy76, post: 44748, member: 1298″]
    Vanguard didn’t sell as expected, no wonder since even kotaku said it was too woke.
    [/QUOTE]
    What I want to know is this: [I]”Why the fuck is there any of that shit in a game about a military conflict?”[/I]

  4. I don’t play these games because they’re not really my style but I have to totally agree with Dan on that one.

  5. [QUOTE=”Dan_D, post: 44761, member: 6″]
    What I want to know is this: [I]”Why the **** is there any of that **** in a game about a military conflict?”[/I]
    [/QUOTE]
    There are only two types of things now. Ones that have that, and the ones that will have that soon. Now that video games are thoroughly f-ed, they are apparently going after tabletop games now.

  6. [QUOTE=”MadMummy76, post: 44764, member: 1298″]
    There are only two types of things now. Ones that have that, and the ones that will have that soon. Now that video games are thoroughly f-ed, they are apparently going after tabletop games now.
    [/QUOTE]
    They can try. Tabletop is a whole different area where the players and DM/GM have all the control over their own content. I don’t see how they can really alter the books and game manuals to be woke.

  7. [QUOTE=”Dan_D, post: 44768, member: 6″]
    They can try. Tabletop is a whole different area where the players and DM/GM have all the control over their own content. I don’t see how they can really alter the books and game manuals to be woke.
    [/QUOTE]
    They are already altering the books, and releasing new ones with guidelines on how to be ‘inclusive’
    Organizations disavowing their own fictional universe, or worse their players.
    And so on.

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