Several employees at Raven Software, one of Activision Blizzard’s development jobs teams, are protesting layoffs at the company. Several members of the QA team were let go last week, and other employees are requesting their reinstatement, claiming that Activision Blizzard promised them better pay in the future.
According to the Washington Post, management laid off (or planned to lay off) up to a third of Raven’s quality assurance team last Friday. Associate community manager Austin O’Brien elaborated on the situation in a tweet chain, claiming that Activision promised the QA team better pay as part of an upcoming pay restructure, only for some to be let go instead. Some of them had also recently moved to Madison, Wisconsin. At the time of writing, some employees were still unsure whether they would be kept on or let go.
Raven Software is the main development team behind one of Activision’s most popular games, Call of Duty Warzone. Call of Duty: Vanguard, the most recent release, will soon cross over with Warzone. According to the letter written to management by the protesting workers, Warzone generates $5.2 million per day. According to Alex Dupont, a member of the QA team, the other members who were let go were not given a clear reason.
Activision Blizzard initially responded to the layoffs with a statement implying that these employees were among the unfortunate few whose contracts were not upgraded to full-time positions, but that 500 contract workers would eventually be upgraded.
This is just the most recent in a string of issues at Activision Blizzard. Since July, when the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing sued the company, it has been embroiled in sexual harassment, assault, and discrimination scandal. Employees are increasingly coming forward with new reports from within the company. Last month, the Wall Street Journal published an article in which allegations were leveled against CEO Bobby Kotick.
Employees of Activision Blizzard walked out during previous reports in protest of how the company handled these allegations. Other major figures in the gaming industry have criticized the company’s actions, including the heads of all three console manufacturers (Phil Spencer of Xbox, Jim Ryan of PlayStation, and Doug Bowser of Nintendo).
The company has also shown signs of issues with game development. In its most recent quarterly report, Activision revealed that it was maintaining decent numbers while also delaying two of its most anticipated releases: Diablo IV and Overwatch 2. Currently, the company has thousands of job openings and appears eager to hire new employees.