Report: Activision Blizzard is laying off QA workers at Raven Software

Update: Employees had reportedly been told that the company was going to improve their wages. "Eliminating" doesn't count as improving.

Reports are emerging on social media that Activision Blizzard is laying off quality assurance workers out of Raven Software, the company's Madison, WI-based branch. It's mostly recently been credited as one of the studios behind Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War and Call of Duty: Warzone.

Raven Software associate community manager Austin O'Brien shared the news on Twitter, saying that several of his friends had been called into meetings one by one throughout the day and told they would be being let go.

O'Brien added that Raven's QA staff had been told the company was working toward a pay restructure in order to improve pay for that branch of the company, only to receive this news instead.

"It's unfair to these people to string them along, promising something better, and then let them go," O'Brien wrote.

This is especially bitter news with the impending holiday season. Impacted workers will apparently be employed through January 28th, giving them time to find new employment. But Madison, WI is not a large game industry hub, with Raven Software and Roundhouse Studios (a branch of Bethesda Softworks) being two of the larger offices in the area.

Layoffs at companies boasting millions upon millions of dollars in profit are outrageous and embarrassing during normal times, but these layoffs follow months of Activision Blizzard absolutely bungling its response to allegations that company management has allowed a culture of toxicity, harassment, and discrimination to fester (and according to some reports, it actively participated in it).

For all the noise the company has made about valuing employees as it's tried to do damage control in this period, laying off several of them before the holidays when the company is still raking in revenue shows that management's ruthless, bottom-line focused tactics still seem to reign supreme.

We've reached out to Activision Blizzard to confirm this report, and will update this story when the company responds.

Update (12/6): An Activision Blizzard spokesperson provided the following statement in response to our story about the layoffs:

"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."

Apparently in order to employ 500 temp workers full-time, 20 must lose their jobs. That seems like an exceptionally grim way to do business. 

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