Activision remains firmly in the news cycle lately with yet another revelation regarding its business practices. An industry insider revealed on social media today that the company was in the process of announcing layoffs in the QA team of one of its subsidiaries, Raven Software, now one of the main studios spearheading development on the Call of Duty series.
Austin O’Brien, an associate community manager for Raven Software and Call of Duty: Warzone, shared the news today on Twitter. He revealed that the Raven QA team had been promised raises for months by Activision, but had been caught off guard when several valuable team members had been told they were being laid off, effective January 28.
The story was picked up by Kotaku, which corroborated with a source of its own who elaborated on Activision’s apparent intentions. The plan, it would seem, would be to hang on to some of the contractors, hire a few to permanent positions, and dismiss the remainder. Those remaining contractors would indeed see the raise promised them — from $17/hour to $18.50/hr — but no doubt that will be of little comfort to their laid-off coworkers.
Dangling promises in front of workers before letting them go is a common tactic of large companies, particularly when dealing with freelancers and contractors, and Activision’s latest move could spell trouble for the hard-won concessions of the ABK Workers Alliance last month. It may seem an overconfident move from the publisher, which is already facing considerable backlash due to accusations of discrimination and harassment and an underwhelming response to those issues, but to many in the industry it’s merely yet another scandal to avoid addressing.