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Update 12/6 11:12 am PT: Workers on the walkout have provided an update saying over 60 Raven employees have joined the walkout in support of the QA team. However, they have called leadership's response to the walkout "disappointing" saying, "Leadership have repeatedly said that these are not 'layoffs', but a termination of contract."
Despite announcing an intent to promote 500 contractors, walkout employees say it will "not stand for a core part of the studio being the source for most, if not all, terminations."
Original Story: Following news over the weekend that Activision Blizzard laid off “at least a dozen” quality assurance contractors at Raven Studios, members of the team still with the company have announced plans to walk out and demand that the laid-off employees return and are offered full-time positions.
Members of Raven Software’s QA team — who work on ensuring the quality of Call of Duty: Warzone, one of Activision Blizzard’s biggest hits and financial successes — issued a statement announcing the intent to walk out and context behind the layoffs.
“In response to the events of Friday, the Raven QA team and other members of Raven’s staff will be walking out with a singular demand: Every member of the QA team, including those terminated on Friday, must be offered full-time positions.”
Raven QA team explained how the laid-off individuals were terminated “in good standing’, meaning they had not underperformed or committed any fireable offense.” The layoffs also reduced the QA Team that works on Call of Duty: Warzone by just over 30% and that colleagues who were laid off are considered “essential to the everyday functioning of the Raven QA team.”
The statement also revealed that several members of the team who were laid-off recently moved to Wisconsin, where Raven is headquartered, “without relocation assistance from Raven, due to reassurances from the studio that their workload was consistent.”
Activision Blizzard confirmed the layoffs in a statement to IGN saying, “Activision Publishing is growing its overall investment in its development and operation 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.”
As the team primarily working on Call of Duty: Warzone, Raven’s QA testers ensure the quality of one of the most successful Call of Duty games in the franchise. An unverified report from earlier this year claims Warzone makes $5.2 million in revenue per day.
Today Raven QA, as a department, is demonstrating in protest of the layoffs on Friday. Raven QA's team is essential to the studio's day-to-day operations.— ABetterABK ? ABK Workers Alliance (@ABetterABK) December 6, 2021
ABetterABK, the employee group advocating for all Activision Blizzard employees, says that “The termination of high-performing testers, while workload and profits are soaring, is an unacceptable action by the company and contradicts Raven’s goal of being an exemplary workplace in our industry.”
The layoffs follow the heels of other employee grievances across the company including at Blizzard following the California state’s lawsuit over gender discrimination. Following reports also revealed workplace misconduct at other Activision arms like Sledgehammer.
Matt T.M. Kim is IGN's News Editor. You can reach him @lawoftd.