Workers at Activision Blizzard Studio Raven Software Walk Out, Protesting Layoffs

Samson Amore

Samson Amore is a reporter for dot.LA. He previously covered technology and entertainment for TheWrap and reported on the SoCal startup scene for the Los Angeles Business Journal. Send tips or pitches to samsonamore@dot.la and find him on Twitter at @Samsonamore. Pronouns: he/him

Workers at Activision Blizzard Studio Raven Software Walk Out, Protesting Layoffs

Embattled video game publisher Activision Blizzard is facing its third work stoppage in the last five months as employees at its subsidiary studio Raven Software walked out to protest layoffs of its quality assurance testers.

Employees have staged other walkouts in recent months to call attention to Activision’s handling of ongoing complaints of rampant gender inequality and sexual harassment within the company. This has happened in tandem with calls from employees and activist investors for CEO Bobby Kotick to resign over his handling of the ongoing scandal.


About 60 full and part-time workers engaged in a work stoppage and virtual walkout that began the morning of Dec. 6.

Activision laid off 20 contractors and temporary employees across its studios when it announced the news late last week that some contractors would be promoted to full-time while others wouldn’t get their contracts renewed. The Washington Post first reported that a dozen contractors working for Raven Software doing quality assurance testing on games were let go.

In a letter to Activision, Raven Studios workers said several staffers had recently relocated to Wisconsin without help from the company in anticipation of regular in-person work, but were told their contracts ended.

“‘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,” the workers’ letter noted.

Raven’s employees are demanding Activision offer all the employees full-time employment, including those who were laid off. Read their letter to Activision in its entirety here.

“Activision Publishing is growing its overall investment in its development and operations resources,” the company said in a statement provided Monday afternoon by spokesperson Rich George.

“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,” Activision added.

Raven is a studio owned by Activision Publishing, which is itself a business division operated by Activision Blizzard. The company added that every employee affected by the cuts was a contractor, and noted that since contracts are just not being extended it was technically not a layoff.

Activision also said in a statement it supports the employees’ decision to walk out, echoing similar statements it gave at the time of past demonstrations. “We support their right to express their opinions and concerns in a safe and respectful manner, without fear of retaliation,” the company's statement said.

Some workers at Treyarch, another studio that’s long worked on development of the “Call of Duty” games, were made full-time today, according to ABetterABK, the workers’ group advocating for changes at the company. In a tweet, the group wrote “in light of recent events, there is no excuse for the company to lay off 30% of Raven's QA department while simultaneously making all Treyarch TEA's full time employees.”

Raven Studios is based in Wisconsin and does vital quality assurance testing for one of Activision’s biggest franchises, “Call of Duty.” It recently was a critical part of shipping the company’s newest installment in the series, “Call of Duty: Vanguard,” which released Nov. 5.

In its November earnings report Activision said “Call of Duty” was one of its most popular franchises and helped the company soar to over $2 billion in revenue within a three-month period. The company’s third quarter earnings saw revenue up 6% annually.

The timing of the walkout is notable; it is happening just as quality assurance testers are needed most: 48 hours before the launch of the a map in the massively popular multiplayer “Call of Duty: Warzone” game, which will be added along with a slew of cosmetic items and weapons as part of Activison’s regular updates on Dec. 8.

https://twitter.com/samsonamore
samsonamore@dot.la

Subscribe to our newsletter to catch every headline.

Cadence

Venture Firm Backstage Capital Cuts Three-Quarters of Staff

Kristin Snyder

Kristin Snyder is an editorial intern for dot.la. She previously interned with Tiger Oak Media and led the arts section for UCLA's Daily Bruin.

Venture Firm Backstage Capital Cuts Three-Quarters of Staff
Photo by Jp Valery on Unsplash

Venture firm Backstage Capital laid off nine employees, reducing its staff to just three.

Managing partner and founder Arlan Hamilton announced the layoffs Sunday on her “Your First Million” podcast. General partners Christie Pitts and Brittany Davis, along with Hamilton, are the only remaining employees, TechCrunch reported. The move comes only three months after the Los Angeles-based firm said it would only fund existing portfolio companies.

Read moreShow less

A New Tide of LA Startups Is Tackling the National Childcare Crisis

Keerthi Vedantam

Keerthi Vedantam is a bioscience reporter at dot.LA. She cut her teeth covering everything from cloud computing to 5G in San Francisco and Seattle. Before she covered tech, Keerthi reported on tribal lands and congressional policy in Washington, D.C. Connect with her on Twitter, Clubhouse (@keerthivedantam) or Signal at 408-470-0776.

A New Tide of LA Startups Is Tackling the National Childcare Crisis
Image by Carolyn Figel

The pandemic exacerbated a problem that has been long bubbling in the U.S.: the childcare crisis.

According to a survey of people in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers conducted by the city’s WiSTEM Los Angeles program and shared exclusively with dot.LA, the pandemic exposed a slew of challenges across STEM fields. The survey—which consisted of 181 respondents from L.A.County and was conducted between March 2021 and 2022— involved respondents across medical fields, technical professions and science industries who shared the pandemic’s effects on their professional or education careers.

Read moreShow less

MaC Venture Capital Raises $203M for Its Second Fund

Decerry Donato

Decerry Donato is dot.LA's Editorial Fellow. Prior to that, she was an editorial intern at the company. Decerry received her bachelor's degree in literary journalism from the University of California, Irvine. She continues to write stories to inform the community about issues or events that take place in the L.A. area. On the weekends, she can be found hiking in the Angeles National forest or sifting through racks at your local thrift store.

MaC Venture Capital Raises $203M for Its Second Fund
Courtesy of MaC Venture Capital

While venture capital funding has taken a hit this year, that hasn’t stopped MaC Venture Capital from raising $203 million for its second fund.

The Los Angeles-based, Black-led VC firm said Monday that it had surpassed its initial $200 million goal for the fund, which dot.LA reported in January, over the span of seven months. MaC said it expects to invest the capital in up to 50 mostly seed-stage startups while remaining “sector-agnostic.”

Read moreShow less
RELATEDEDITOR'S PICKS
LA TECH JOBS
interchangeLA
Trending