Activision and Raven Software lay off Call of Duty QA testers

Jimmy2x

Posts: 54   +4
Staff
Cutting corners: Raven Software's quality assurance testers are being called into meetings to notify them of pending layoffs. The decision was made despite the company's increased Q3 profits and Activision's ongoing promise of a wage increase. The move has the potential to add yet another self-inflicted wound to Activision's already heavily damaged reputation.

Sometimes it seems like Activision can't help but shoot themselves in the foot. Call of Duty community leader Austin O'Brien's tweet stated that Activision has begun meeting with the game's quality assurance (QA) test team to inform them of upcoming layoffs. According to a source close to Kotaku, the layoffs have already gutted more than one third of the quality assurance team and will continue into next week. The layoffs come amidst the company's ongoing struggle with allegations of harassment and abuse.

O'Brien's follow-up tweets state that many of the QA testers were asked to move to the Madison, WI, area to work on projects supporting the popular franchise. The developers were also told they would be receiving pay raises on numerous occasions, though the increases never materialized. Instead, according to Kotaku's source, Activision will hire a handful of the testers permanently, leaving the rest of the team unemployed just in time for the holidays.

While news of the layoffs may be negative, O'Brien's call to industry friends with open opportunities may yield some positive results. Contacts from large developers like Zenimax to local Madison-based development studios such as Lost Boys Interactive have responded with leads and openings in hopes of finding a home for the displaced QA team.

Video game QA testers are primarily responsible for playing and replaying games (or sections of games) to identify bugs, glitches, and exploits so they can be remediated before or shortly after launch. Games with constant releases and massive player bases, such as Warzone, are heavily reliant upon these testers to ensure releases are functional and do not disrupt the players or surrounding multi-million-dollar industry that has spawned everything from cash tournaments to live streams and Warzone-based podcasts.

The sudden layoffs are not a first for Activision. Earlier this year the company laid off more than 190 employees, citing the changes as necessary to save costs and reinvent itself during the pandemic. Meanwhile, CEO Bobby Kotick raked in more than $200 million in bonuses during that same period.

Image credit: Video gamer by Sean Do

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Neatfeatguy

Posts: 637   +1,121
They're taking a page right out of Microsoft's book!

Tank the QA team and let the public be the beta testers. Just listen to what they cry about the most and work on fixing them in a slow manner. And by fixing them in a slow manner, I mean redo the UI and menu options without actually fixing the bugs.
 

RudyBob

Posts: 358   +348
It's called business. People are laid off daily. I have been twice so I moved and got a new job. Sorry for these folk, of course
 

kiwigraeme

Posts: 728   +534
Kind of true - they will get pay rises with new jobs .

I'm sorry $200 million is obscene - oh but we would get the best CEO - what a load of rubbish .
Again history is splendid with people grabbing short time bonuses - at the expense of longtime health .
A salesman can do it .
Bankers , Financiers do it - -the problem for the company in this situation - if those "investments" go pear shape - the lossed can be super huge - a few companies have gone under by such people exploited "The Game" - normally if fails - they get full payout of remaining contract - pretty good win/win - not their fault regular workers lost their jobs or meagre bonuses - they were silly anyway.
Sales or investments giving big returns are nothing without ever getting paid.

When I was a temp in London cleaning up a companies accounts etc - remember a salesman ringing me up 20 minutes after sending an statement and attached invoices and cover letter ( polite - asking any problems with service or invoices ).
He was screaming at me down the phone - like I care as a temp :) - I told him you may have made
millions of pounds in sales - but the have paid Nothing! and they are over 90 days behind on contract terms . Our company supplied topline software/system guys - so we were paying massive salaries every week -eg If SWIFT needed expertise the cost of salaries . flights. accom etc were nothing - that wasn't the client in this case

 

ShadowDeath

Posts: 186   +166
They're taking a page right out of Microsoft's book!

Tank the QA team and let the public be the beta testers. Just listen to what they cry about the most and work on fixing them in a slow manner. And by fixing them in a slow manner, I mean redo the UI and menu options without actually fixing the bugs.

The messed up part is that their games are hosted on a platform where you can't leave reviews to warn other players. Then again these days that doesn't mean anything either because the host sites/services just delete the bad reviews and call it review brigading anyway.
 
Anyone able to walk away with 200 million while laying off those that assure the quality of the product needs to be watched very carefully. Such utter incompetence isn't rare at all at inept ceo level, but this drooling one takes it to a level of psychopathy. Sad that karma doesn't visit in person more often.
 

Irata

Posts: 1,868   +3,159
Absolutely stupid and shameful that any video game company would force QA testers to relocate during covid. They're freaking QA testers, they really don't need to be there in person.
This !

First they make them relocate (costs money, move away from friends, hassle), lie to them and make empty promises and then fire them for Christmas. Want to bet that there aren‘t many job openings for game testers in that area ?

That‘s pretty much peak d-baggery right there.

And then companies are wondering why employees walk out on them when they can…
 

McMurdeR

Posts: 400   +429
It's called business. People are laid off daily. I have been twice so I moved and got a new job. Sorry for these folk, of course

Doesn't make it right just because it's happened to you. In any case it's usually a sign of bad faith on the part of the employer - and that certainly is bad for business.
 

Uncle Al

Posts: 8,468   +7,282
The level of stupidity of this company is nearly unmatched. You should be laying off Senior Management long before you layoff you quality teams. Of course their latest offering just proves that.
 

Shaitan

Posts: 155   +182
Lol. While they pander to the insane woke crazies, they destroy the little man working for pennies. That's 100% the hypocrisy of these companies.
 

texasrattler

Posts: 1,245   +587
Warzone QA testers? Hmm, either those testers were useless as I saw countless issues after a update or they did report the issues but Raven ignored them/weren't a priority at the time.

Lot of different ways to take all of this. Depends on what you know or what you choose to believe about the situation.
 

Neatfeatguy

Posts: 637   +1,121
I know a guy that went to do QA testing for CoD - I haven't seen him in a while, but last time I spoke with him he had been doing the work for about 6 months (this was 6-8 months ago when I saw him) and he said he was burnt out. He was all gung ho about it before he started - he went to school to learn code and use software for making games, so he was psyched he landed the position, hoping to get his foot in the door.

Only 6 months after he started the job he said he was exhausted and tired of playing the same games for large chunks of time, especially when they're replaying the same levels/maps over and over again. I wonder if he was asked to relocate to Madison and is now caught up in this $hitstorm that's going on. If he is, I hope he lands on his feet.
 

Puiu

Posts: 5,166   +4,031
TechSpot Elite
Warzone QA testers? Hmm, either those testers were useless as I saw countless issues after a update or they did report the issues but Raven ignored them/weren't a priority at the time.

Lot of different ways to take all of this. Depends on what you know or what you choose to believe about the situation.
Trust me, they know of the bugs. But QA testers are not the ones that need to fix them :)
 

Knot Schure

Posts: 378   +176
If they are short on money - they could simply try game-banning cheaters, forcing them to buy new product keys etc to play again.

Rinse / repeat, then there is untold millions of dollars right at your feet - fools.

Maybe I should be CEO. But I want more than $200M. :)
 

BadThad

Posts: 800   +933
"CEO Bobby Kotick raked in more than $200 million in bonuses during that same period"

Just another company rapist exec! These guys at the top change jobs frequently so they can simply move to the next victim. They suck dry every company they touch and companies defend them with "we have to pay to get the best" and "if we don't give them bonuses, they will leave". I've heard this over and over and over through the decades - ironically at companies that post losing quarter after losing quarter. I've also felt companies should let the door hit these guys in the arse on their way out! So many bad decisions made by execs and no accountability. An MBA fresh out of school could run many companies better than the serial, executive rapists.