At least 12 quality assurance contractors at Raven Software, one of the primary Call of Duty development studios, were shut down today. More QA contractors could lose their jobs next week.
According to Washington Post, testers were previously asked by Activision to expect a transfer to a new staffing partner, Volt, which would come with added benefits, bonuses and a $1.50 per hour increase, bringing their pay to $18.50 an hour . Instead, they were let go today. A QA tester told the paper that their project lead was not aware of the impending layoff.
“I’m just disappointed. My friends at QA at Raven were promised for months that Activision was working toward a pay restructuring to increase their pay,” tweeted Raven Associate Community Manager Austin O’Brien. “Today, one by one, valuable team members were called to meetings and told they were being let go.”
Raven Software is one of the primary Call of Duty developers, and the studio is closely associated with its biggest recent success, Call of Duty: Warzone.
I’m just ruined. My friends at QA at Raven had been promised for months that Activision was working toward a pay restructuring to increase their pay. Today, one by one, valuable team members were called to meetings and told that they were being let go.3 December 2021
Layoffs haven’t been an unusual experience for Activision Blizzard departments and studios over the past few years. Earlier this year, many esports employees were laid off, and in 2019, the company cut hundreds of jobs after announcing record revenue.
Layoffs are not uncommon at other large publishers as well. For example, EA laid off 350 people in 2019. While the number of employees affected in this case is much smaller than that (at least for now), the layoffs at Raven are particularly noteworthy—and generating a huge public backlash—because the relationship between Activision Blizzard’s leadership and employees is as much Hostile as it has ever been. Several employees called for CEO Bobby Kotick’s resignation, following a recent report that alleged he was behind Activision Blizzard’s refusal to file a California sexual harassment lawsuit in July.
The reaction to O’Brien’s layoff has been shared more than a thousand times on Twitter, just hours after it was posted. Many commentators are pointing to the huge amount of revenue brought in by Warzone.
Activision Blizzard did not immediately respond to a request for comment.