Activision Blizzard hits Raven Software's QA department with layoffs

A walkout is protesting the unexpected firings.

Last week, Activision Blizzard reportedly laid off a number of contract workers from the QA department at Raven Software, one of the studios on the Call of Duty development rotation. In response, the entire Raven QA department, along with other studio employees, have organized a walkout for today, December 6.

“Every member of the QA team, including those terminated on Friday, must be offered full time positions,” a statement from Raven reads. “Those participating in this demonstration do so with the continued success of the studio at the forefront of their mind. The Raven QA department is essential to the day-to-day functioning of the studio as a whole.” 

According to Raven’s statement, several contracted QA testers were let go in “good standing,” meaning they had not underperformed in their duties or committed any otherwise fireable offenses. The layoffs reduce the QA department--which mostly works on Call of Duty: Warzone at the moment--by roughly 30%. The remaining members of the department were left wondering about the status of their own employment. 

“These personnel cuts come after five weeks of overtime, and before an anticipated end of year crunch,” the statement reads.

The layoffs occurred after Raven leadership assured that positive changes were coming to the QA department. These hypothetical changes nullified standard promotions and/or raises that were expected to take place in March of this year. 

According to a statement from an Activision Blizzard spokesperson that has been emailed to members of the press--including GameDaily--the layoffs are part of a larger restructuring of Activision Publishing:

“Activision Publishing is growing its overall investment in its development and operations resources. We are converting approximately 500 temporary workers to full-time employees in the coming months. Unfortunately, as part of this change, we also have notified 20 temporary workers across studios that their contracts would not be extended.”

Acquired by Activison in 1997, Raven made its name on Marvel: Ultimate Alliance and Singularity before being folded full-time into the Call of Duty machine with 2010’s Call of Duty: Black Ops.

The layoffs come amid ongoing trouble for Activision Blizzard; the company has become embroiled in a handful of lawsuits and investigations centered on accusations of sexual harassment, gender discrimination, and further malbehavior. A number of parties, including company shareholders, have since called for the resignation of CEO Bobby Kotick, even if the board of directors stands with him

In all, the layoffs at Raven are simply another notch in the belt of a company that, over the last few years, has earned a reputation for disregarding the wellbeing of its employees.

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Sam, the Editor-in-Chief of GameDaily.biz, is a former freelance game reporter. He's been seen at IGN, PCGamesN, PCGamer, Unwinnable, and many more. When not writing about games, he is most likely taking care of his two dogs or pretending to know a lot about artisan coffee. Get in touch with Sam by emailing him at  sdesatoff@rektglobal.com or follow him on Twitter.