Most of the walkouts come from the QA department following layoffs at Raven Software.
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Quality assurance developers alongside some developers from Raven Software are staging a walkout today in protest of the sudden and shocking layoffs that began last Friday. According to Kotaku, these layoffs happened after the staff were previously promised to be given raises by Activision. Raven Software is the studio mainly in charge of the very successful Call of Duty: Warzone battle royale game.

The purpose of the walkout is to try to force Activision to provide all QA testers, including those that were just laid off, full time positions. The group released a statement publicly.

"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. Terminating the contracts of high performing testers in a time of consistent work and profit puts the health of the studio at risk."
A statement from Activision Blizzard does not seem to directly address the elephant in the room. Instead, the statement focuses on how the studio will be "converting approximately 500 temporary workers to full-time employees in the coming months."

"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."
Last week, Raven Software upper management informed the QA department that they would be holding meetings in the coming months to determine who would get converted to full-time employees, with the previously promised raises, and who would be laid off. Last week, 30% of Raven's QA department was laid off or had their contracts terminated (ending January 28). Others still have to wait to see if they will be laid off or not as a result of those future meetings.

The meetings were one-on-one between employees and management to determine whether or not they were being let go.


ABetterABK on Twitter also voiced their disappointment with what Activision is doing and showed their support for their co-workers.


Raven Software QA were reportedly promised raises for months by Activision ahead of these layoffs. What Activision did not tell them is that those raises would come at a cost. Activision's plan was to pull in some contract testers from Raven, hire some testers permanently, and then lay off the rest of the team. Those that still had a job would see their salaries go from $17 per hour to $18.50 per hour alongside better benefits and quarterly bonuses.

The full statement from Raven's QA department can be found below.

On Friday December 3rd, 12 of Raven Software’s Quality Assurance testers were brought into individual meetings and informed that their contracts would be terminated on January 28th. These individuals were let go in “good standing,” meaning they had not underperformed or committed any fireable offense. The majority of those who were not let go on December 3rd are still unsure about the status of their employment. These personnel cuts come after five weeks of overtime, and before an anticipated end of year crunch. The QA team, which at this point in time mainly works on Call of Duty: Warzone so far has been reduced by just over 30%.

This team was told multiple times by Raven leadership that there were positive departmental changes coming. These upcoming changes were also used as the reason why no members of the team received standard promotions or raises that were meant to be in place by March of 2021.

The 12 individuals who have been let go so far are considered by their colleagues to be essential to the everyday functioning of the Raven QA team. Several of those who were let go recently relocated to Wisconsin in anticipation of the return to in person work. They did so without relocation assistance from Raven, due to reassurances from the studio that their workload was consistent. Call of Duty: Warzone, which recently announced the release of a new map and integration with the Call of Duty: Vanguard title, earns $5.2 million per day.

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. 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. Terminating the contracts of high performing testers in a time of consistent work and profit puts the health of the studio at risk. Additionally, these actions go directly against the positive culture that Raven has created over the years. The end goal of this walk out is to ensure the continued growth of Raven as a studio and to foster a positive community for everyone who works there.