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.
I am gutted right now. My friends in QA at Raven were promised, for months, that Activision was working towards a pay restructure to increase their wages.— Austin O’Brien (@eyyohbee) December 3, 2021
Today, one by one, valuable members of the team were called into meetings and told they were being let go.
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.”
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.
#TheGameAwards is a time of celebration for this industry, the biggest form of entertainment in the world.— Geoff Keighley (@geoffkeighley) December 4, 2021
There is no place for abuse, harassment or predatory practices in any company or any community.
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.