At least 12 quality assurance contractors at Raven Software, one of the primary Call of Duty development studios, were laid off today. More QA contractors could lose their jobs next week.
According to The Washington Post (opens in new tab), the testers were previously told by Activision to expect a transfer to a new staffing partner, Volt, which was going to come with added benefits, bonuses, and a $1.50 per hour raise, increasing their wages to $18.50 per hour. Instead, they were let go today. One QA tester told the paper that their project lead hadn't known about the impending layoffs.
"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," tweeted (opens in new tab) Raven associate community manager Austin O'Brien. "Today, one by one, valuable members of the team were called into meetings and told they were being let go."
Raven Software is one of the primary Call of Duty developers, and the studio most associated with its biggest recent success, Call of Duty: Warzone.
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.Today, one by one, valuable members of the team were called into meetings and told they were being let go.December 3, 2021
Layoffs haven't been an uncommon experience for Activision Blizzard departments and studios over the past few years. Earlier this year, a number of esports employees were laid off, and in 2019, the company cut hundreds of jobs after announcing record revenue.
Layoffs aren't uncommon at other large publishers either. EA laid off 350 people in 2019, for example. Although the number of affected employees in this case is much smaller than that (at least right now), the layoffs at Raven are particularly notable—and are generating a large public reaction—because the relationship between Activision Blizzard's leadership and employees is as hostile as it has ever been. Many employees called for CEO Bobby Kotick's resignation following a recent report that alleged that he was behind Activision Blizzard's denials following the filing of California's sexual harassment lawsuit in July.
O'Brien's reaction to the layoffs has been shared over a thousand times on Twitter just a few hours after it was posted. Many commenters are pointing out the enormous amount of revenue brought in by Warzone.
Activision Blizzard did not immediately respond to a request for comment.