Sometimes, it can be hard to keep track of all of the wise words and insightful proclamations that come out of the mouth of Activision’s CEO, Bobby Kotick. The guy sure does get up to a lot of wacky adventures, and says some of the darndest things. So we’ve aggregated his recent ramblings into one spot. Beware, dear reader. The mind of Kotick is not for some.
17th September – Bobby’s busy week started fairly typically: thinking about money. At the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Media, Communications & Entertainment Conference in California, he suggested that Activision might experiment with selling in-game cutscenes:
If we were to take that hour, or hour and a half, and take it out of the game and we were to go to our audiences, who we have their credit card information a direct relationship, and say to them ‘Would you like to have the StarCraft movie?’
My guess is unlike film studios that are really stuck with a model that goes through theatrical distribution and takes a signification amount of the profit away, if we were to go to an audience and say ‘We have this great hour and a half of linear video that we’d like to make available to you at a $US20 or $US30 price point,’ you’d have the biggest opening weekend of any film ever.
From memory, that would be more cutscene time than Starcraft 2 actually had. And that’s ignoring the fact that its best cutscenes were in the game’s launch trailer.
21st September – Speaking to a large crowd of investors, Bobby decided it was time to start hyping up Bungie, whom Activision has a deal with to make a game. In the process, he also insulted every other independent developer:
Bungie are a very unusual company. They’re probably the last remaining high quality independent developer.
When they started the process of looking for a new partner, they’d been in business with Microsoft. They had a vision for a product they wanted to create that needed certain skills and capabilities – that Microsoft had some of.
But as they started to go and look at the obvious candidates, they realised that no company other than Activision had the skills that they needed to be successful for the vision of that product.
Glad to see an independent developer that doesn’t churn out filth, like Valve, Epic, Gearbox, or 50 million “low quality” studios.
22nd September – Bobby might have regained a bit of goodwill when he spoke out against the proposed Californian law that the US games industry is universally opposing:
Our First Amendment has survived intact for 219 years amid far greater technological, historical and social challenges. The argument that videogames present some kind of new ominous threat that requires a wholesale reassessment of one of our nation’s most treasured freedoms and to take that freedom away indiscriminately from an entire group of our population based on nothing but age is beyond absurd. These are the same attacks Americans have witnessed against every previous emerging entertainment medium and genre including books, comics, rock ‘roll, movies, TV and the Internet. In each case, freedom prevailed.
27th September – But then, Bobby was right back at it. In an interview with Edge Magazine, he claimed that studios under Activision were given full autonomy:
We always looked and said, ‘You know what? What we like about a developer is that they have a culture, they have an independent vision and that’s what makes them so successful.’ We don’t have an Activision anything – it’s Treyarch, Infinity Ward, Sledgehammer.
That, to me, is one of the unassailable rules of building a publishing company. And in every case except for two, the original founders of the studios are still running the studios today.
He also had a little dig at EA:
…you can’t be a floor wax and then decide that you’re going to become a dessert topping,” he said. “That doesn’t work, it’s your DNA. [EA’s]DNA isn’t oriented towards that model – it doesn’t know how to do it, as a culture or as a company, and it never has… Look, EA has a lot of resources, it’s a big company that’s been in business for a long time, maybe it’ll figure it out eventually. But it’s been struggling for a really long time. The most difficult challenge it faces today is: great people don’t really want to work there.
He then connected the Madden studio’s stock value to the quality of their games, which somehow doesn’t surprise us. Could this just be a a defensive comment? After all, EA knows what Activision is going through. It’s been there, it came back, and it’s now taking chances and making innovative games once again. Or could Activision’s culture really be more desirable?
That’s all in this volume of The Chronicles of Kotick. Of course, it’s impossible to include everything this man says or does. He seems to be in multiple places at once – giving a quote here, speaking to investors there – but if you spot anything that’s just too gold to pass up, leave it in the comments below!