Activision Blizzard Lays Off QA Contractors for Call of Duty Developer Raven Software

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)

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 dad, a used Atari 400, around 1982. Eventually it would end up being a lifelong passion of upgrading and modifying equipment that, of course, led into a career in IT support.

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