Madison video game testers suddenly laid off, employees say

MADISON, Wis. — Several employees say at least 12 video game testers at Madison’s largest video game studio have been laid off in the past week.

The employees are contractors who work on “Call of Duty” games at Raven Studios, which is owned by Activision.

News 3 Now spoke with several employees who confirmed the layoffs. They’re nervous the number will climb as individual meetings continue through the week.

They say they’ve been told by management the layoffs have nothing to do with performance and is considered a part of a consolidation. Several of the people being laid off move to Madison specifically for the job, thanks to expectations from Activision that no contractors at the Madison studio be based out-of-state once employees return to the office.

“I actually just moved (to Madison) last week, so this comes as a bit of a devastating bit of information, I suppose,” one tester who wanted to remain anonymous told News 3 Now in a phone interview. “I was one of the most experienced testers there, and I was taking on a lot of specific work.”

On Monday, the Cap Times reported 45 workers participated in a walkout — the third recent Activision work stoppage, according to reporting from the Washington Post.

The layoffs highlight ongoing complaints about worker conditions for quality assurance testers in the industry, employees say.