While perhaps not seen in the full context of his talk at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch conference, Activision head Bobby Kotick's comments about Bungie did create quite a stir last week.
It is worth your time to go listen to the full 40-minute or so talk here, but the thing that captured so much attention during that talk at the 2010 Bank of America Merrill Lynch Media, Communications & Entertainment Conference was this single sentiment:
Among those bothered by Kotick's talk was former Bungie executive vice president, and current president of Atomic Games, Peter Tamte. He sent Kotaku this Letter to the Editor which, as we've done sometimes in the past, we're running here in its entirety.
You were quoted saying that Bungie is the last remaining high quality independent developer. As a former executive vice president of Bungie, I need to tell you: If this is true, you're screwed.
Activision and every other big publisher have grown by acquiring independent developers. The industry needs a constant supply of new independent developers to buy because they're the ones creating innovative games that become franchises.
Gears of War. Portal. Borderlands. None of these games re-hashes the same old formulas. They innovate. And, they're made by independent developers, of course.
So, we challenge you.
You've called Activision the industry's online leader. If you think the newest Call of Duty online experience is that innovative, let players buy just the online part of Call of Duty Black Ops and charge them a fair price.
In fact, we'll make you a deal. Let consumers buy just the online part of Call of Duty, and we'll give you a starring role in our new online game, Breach. Trust me, starring in your own videogame would give you huge street cred. We've even mocked up a screenshot to show you how cool you'd look in Breach.
As an independent developer, Atomic can't spend its way to big sales, like Activision can. We have to innovate. So, if you're confident Activision can innovate without independent developers, this is your opportunity to prove it.
Peter Tamte President Atomic Games