Reports have surfaced that Activision Blizzard has laid off Raven Software Quality Assurance employees that were recently asked to relocate to the Madison Wisconsin studio. Additionally, Geoff Keighley, host of the upcoming yearly stream of The Game Awards has announced that, apart from their nominations, Activision Blizzard will not be attending the awards this year.
Late in the day on Friday, December 3rd, a tweet from the associate community manager Austin O’Brien at Raven Software, expressed concern for his fellow employees after he found out that Activision Blizzard had laid off many QA Testers from the studio. O’Brien explained in a further tweet that these employees were asked to move to Madison Wisconsin to be part of this studio, under the guise that they would be furthering their career, only to be out of a job by January 28th, 2022. While there are no specific numbers related to how many were laid off at this time, O’Brien expressed his severe criticism of the layoffs, as other staff members sit idly by waiting to hear if they still have jobs.
I am gutted right now. My friends in QA at Raven were promised, for months, that Activision was working towards a pay restructure to increase their wages.Today, one by one, valuable members of the team were called into meetings and told they were being let go.— Austin O'Brien (@eyyohbee) December 3, 2021
Over the past several years of high-profile departures, it has been clear that the culture Activision Blizzard has cultivated has not been working to keep the talented developers that made the company great. The unfavorable shift has largely been laid at the feet of those highest in management, most notably Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick. A report from the Wall Street Journal uncovered emails, records and interviews related to incidents of sexual misconduct, with legal cases and investigations ongoing, despite Activision Blizzard attempting to settle with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
CEO Bobby Kotick has challenged the Wall Street Journal Report as “inaccurate and misleading” though many game companies and employees have rallied behind the removal of Kotick as CEO. Both Sony and Microsoft have stated the possibility of reevaluating their relationship with the industry giant. The hits don’t stop there. In a tweet released by The Game Awards host Geoff Keighley, Activision Blizzard is not going to be at the awards show this year, which premieres December 9th, apart from their nominations.
Beyond its nominations, I can confirm that Activision|Blizzard will not be a part of this year’s #TheGameAwards— Geoff Keighley (@geoffkeighley) December 4, 2021
Geoff goes on to say that the gaming industry as a whole is an inclusive environment where abuse, harassment, and predatory practices are not welcome. While employees, customers, shareholders, and industry peers have all seemingly turned their back on Kotick, who has stated that he would be willing to resign if changes aren’t made quickly, the executive board has stood behind Kotick and is not looking to replace him. The question remains, how long will Activision Blizzard allow their inaction to continue, as their slow response after years of turning a blind eye to these issues has resulted in a ongoing loss of talent and may even endanger current and future partnerships for the, once heralded, publisher.