On Friday, a dozen QA personnel at Madison, Wisconsin-based Raven Software -- the studio that develops the Call of Duty franchise for Activision -- were told that they would be laid off at the end of January. According to the Washington Post, the contract workers were informed of their dismissal in one-on-one meetings that began on December 3 and would continue through December 8, meaning that some workers spent the weekend wondering if they would still have a job throughout the coming new year.
Many of the employees who were laid off moved to Madison as part of the job and were reportedly told that they would be receiving pay increases in the near future. While the laid-off workers' formal dismissal date is January 28, they have been given the option to leave earlier, and the Post reports that many are choosing to do so. "It's an embarrassment working for Activision, in my opinion," said QA tester Evan Avillanoza, one of the employees who were let go.
In response, employee advocate group A Better ABK organized a walkout today at Raven Software in support of the 12 individuals who were terminated, calling for them to be reinstated and for all members of Raven's QA team to be offered full-time positions. In a statement, A Better ABK said that the workers were "in 'good standing,' meaning they had not underperformed or committed any fireable offense" and noted that Call of Duty: Warzone brings in $5.2 million per day, in accordance with Blizzard's own financial statements.
Over 60 workers at Raven Software participated in today's walkout, according to the Washington Post.
Activision Blizzard responded to the demonstration by saying, "We support their right to express their opinions and concerns in a safe and respectful manner, without fear of retaliation." The company also said in a statement that it was terminating the employment of 20 contract workers throughout its studios while converting 500 more to full-time positions in the coming months -- which would be good news if true, but at this point, the company deserves exactly zero benefit of the doubt.
About the Author
Jason Winter is a veteran gaming journalist, he brings a wide range of experience to MMOBomb, including two years with Beckett Media where he served as the editor of the leading gaming magazine Massive Online Gamer. He has also written professionally for several gaming websites.
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