Activision Blizzard, the video game studio behind flagship titles such as World of Warcraft, Diablo or Call of Duty does not seem to be at the end of its sentences. As the scandal over accusations of sexual harassment and gender discrimination is in full swing, the company is now facing an internal crisis.
It’s a mess at Activision Blizzard. About sixty developers from Raven Software, which is part of the famous studios, working on the game “Call of Duty: Warzone” left their posts on Monday in protest of recent layoffs.
Last Friday, a dozen quality controllers were let go by the management of Raven Software. A decision that did not fail to arouse the indignation of their colleagues and friends. In a press release, the group of protesters demanded rehabilitation for their colleagues, but also full-time employment for the entire quality control team, both those who lost their jobs and those who remained.
They claim that their ultimate goal is “ to ensure the continued growth of Raven as a studio and to promote a healthy environment for all who work there “.
In response to the protesters’ request, Activision Blizzard told the Washington post : “We respect their right to express their opinions and concerns in a safe and respectful manner, without fear of reprisal”
Nevertheless, the company made it clear that the 12 people dismissed are part of a group of 20 temporary employees from which it had to separate due to an “increase in its overall investment in development and operating resources”. Activision Blizzard added that in the coming months, around 500 temporary employees will become full-time employees in line with this move.
Old habits are tough
If the recent layoffs may be shocking, we see that this maneuver is not new for the Activision Blizzard studios. According to Kotaku, in 2019, eight percent (8%) of the workforce at the Santa Monica, California-based firm were laid off; this a little after the publication of robust financial results. Last March, around 50 people also lost their jobs.
Could it be that Activision does not have the means to keep the people sacked last Friday by its side? Unlikely if we trust the words of the company which reported last December to have raked in $ 3 billion in profits during the past year. Profits drawn in particular by the Call of Duty franchise on which some of the licensees were working.
As a reminder, the Activision Blizzard studios have been in the spotlight for several months because of several allegations of sexual discrimination and harassment. Moreover, several employees of the company demanded the head of its CEO, Bobby Kotick, who, according to some accusations, was aware of the practices currently denounced.