Activision Blizzard, via Games Industry
“Activision is deeply committed to the wellbeing of all of our teams, including our QA workforce,” the statement read. “Raven leadership has engaged in dialogue with its staff to hear concerns and explain the company’s overall investment in development resources. As previously announced, we are growing our overall investment in development and operations resources and converting nearly 500 temporary workers to full-time employees across our studios, the largest conversion in Activision’s history.
“For the 12 temporary workers at Raven whose agreements were not extended, we provided an extended notice period, included payment for the two-week holiday break, and will be working directly with those that need relocation assistance. Raven is full of people dedicated to improving the culture at Activision, and we look forward to partnering with employees to do that work together.”
Based on the statement, Activision appears to sticking to their decision, emphasizing the full-time worker conversions and pseudo-severance offered to those cut employees, rather than the walkout’s demand for them to be reinstated. While it’s true that temporary contracts not being renewed is not quite the same as being laid off or fired, the situation has highlighted the exploitative nature of temporary contract work. Temporary contract work is designed to be spun up and down as needed based on tempo, but the tech industry is notorious for taking advantage of that class of workers because the work never ends. These temporary employees are routinely kept on for years beyond their initial hiring, used in the exact same manner as their full-time counterparts, for a fraction of the cost – all while being strung along by the hope of someday reaching full-time status.
Seen as a callous disregard for workers who were, according to their fellows at Raven Software, valuable members of the development team, some 60 employees at Raven Software and various other Activision Blizzard studios responded by walking out on December 3rd. Three days later, Activision Publishing acknowledged the walkout in their first response to the matter, stating that some 500 temporary workers were being converted to full time employees, but that 20 other contracts would not be extended.
Activision Blizzard, via Polygon
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.
With these two statements so closely mirroring one another, it seems unlikely that Activision will reinstate the employees, and while it’s true that the loss of 20 for the benefit of some 500 could be seen as a win, it’s little consolation for those no longer employed. In the meantime, the Quality Assurance work on Warzone appears to have been handed off to another group of Activision testers.