Activision’s CEO Made $38.3 Million Last Year, 306 Times The Median Activision Employee

Activision’s CEO Made $38.3 Million Last Year, 306 Times The Median Activision Employee

Activision-Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick’s compensation for 2017 was $US28,698,375 ($38,273,588), according to filings the video game publisher submitted earlier this week to the US Security and Exchanges Commission. Don’t be too jealous, though – that’s actually a pay cut. But it’s still over 300 times what the median Activision employee made.

Bobby Kotick in 2016Photo: Mike Windle (Getty Images)

Kotick, who has long been one of the most highly paid CEOs in America, made $US33,065,560 ($44,097,884) in 2016, per SEC filings. So last year’s pay – a combination of salary, equity and other miscellaneous compensation – was $US4.3 million ($5.7 million) less than what Kotick made two years ago.

Some of Activision-Blizzard’s biggest games include Call of Duty, Destiny, Overwatch, World of Warcraft and Hearthstone. The publisher also owns King, the company behind Candy Crush.

According to the same SEC filing, the median Activision employee made $US93,660 ($124,861) last year. “Based on the foregoing, our estimate of the CEO-to-median employee pay ratio is 306:1,” reads the filing.

“Due to the wide variety of job functions within our company, across numerous global jurisdictions, the compensation paid to our employees differs greatly between departments, experience levels, and locations. We believe that our employees are fairly compensated and appropriately incentivized.”


  • I dislike articles like this because it is obvious that the CEO should and would be making more money, they are solely responsible if the company succeeds or fails and also for generating new business and expansion decisions. Very few articles of this nature delve into how much profit the CEO generates through their decision making which typically far outweigh their own salary.

    • While I agree and these kinds of articles are sensationalist nonsense, does the dude really deserve that much money?

      • If you can live his career life and make multi million decisions to please shareholders despite salty gamers complaining yet constantly buying their games… yes, you deserve that money.

    • You know how I know you and other people commenting similarly have never worked in positions of seniority anywhere near CEOs?

      Either that or you have a very, very poor grasp of basic multiplication and division.

    • According to Piketty there’s actually very little correlation between the actions of a CEO and the success of a company. I know it’s counter-intuitive but a company like this is very large and made up of a lot of people making decisions, not just the CEO. The world economic environment and the environment relating to the company’s specific industry has almost 100% correlation with a company’s success. CEOs get paid what they do because they essentially get to decide their own pay packets. Unsurprisingly they value their own contribution very highly.

      Let me put it a different way. How much actual influence would the CEO have on the success or failure of a major game like the latest Call of Duty? How much would that affect share price?

    • “Solely responsible”? Sure thing.

      That aside, it makes sense that the CEO earns in proportion to their company’s profits, and Activision has been going gangbusters.

      What makes me angry is seeing CEOs taking home huge salaries and bonuses in years that their company has lost money and they’ve laid off hundreds of employees. You don’t get a bonus for that.

      • When I say solely responsible I’m referring to the fiduciary duty that corporations have to their shareholders and board of directors and that should their actions fail to increase the ROI and their market position fails due to a weak vision and leadership the CEO can and does often get ousted. That’s all I meant.

  • While this guy does make a lot of money, it also seems like the Average Joe employee is very well compensated as well.

  • He must’ve gotten the gold tier reward from his loot box at the annual wage meeting

  • I mean, that’s way to often much money for one person for sure, but also… US$94,000 a year is nothing to sneeze at! Damn man, I wish I earned that much a year.

    • Does the median include said CEO’s salary, or is it excluded from the median calculation? *thinks* Either way, f##k this guy, pretty sure he’s the one responsible for all the micro-transactions and half baked games being released… *Destiny 2 cough*

  • CEOs should never get so much money. It is absurd.

    It is absurd to think that one person is worth that much to the company.

    There is no I in team. Remember that.

    The only thing a CEO has going for him is he is good at his job. However, the artist getting paid 300 times less is also good at their job. Probably just as good at his job as the ceo is at his. Based on this is it not fair the artist get 38 million as well?

    I totally understand people get paid based on experiance etc but multi million dollar paychecks are not appropriate.

    If a CEO were to go out and run the business solo and actually made 100 milloin profit then a 38 milloin paycheck would be fair.

    When you have a team of people working together to create a business then it is not fair.

    I mean shit, they could have employed 200 other people and still given the ceo a bit more than normal.

    Rant over.

    • Totally agree, no one is worth that much money a year, even the head of a massive company. Imagine how much morale would go up if he sacrificed a few million to give every one else a small bonus.

  • But….But….the cost of making games is going up thats why they need MT’s and loot boxes and paid DLC

    • I think someone needs to hold up the “Obvious Sarcasm” sign for @nootnoot318

  • A completely normal thing happened: workers benefit disproportionately from a system designed to disadvantage them.

  • If we locked a CEOs income to, say 50 times the income of the lowest paid employee, we’d see a lot fewer people working full time and not able to afford anything. We’d also see CEOs get paid less ludicrous amounts of money. It’s a win-win situation.

    • You would just see them outsource more.
      Plus it would only benefit large corporations that have a CEO position.
      Company A could have massive pay differences to company B because they way they are structured. But then again company A with a CEO could just outsource to company B that doesn’t and get a better price off the lower payed work.
      Company A could then even just outsource most of their work and only retain high wage staff. Then the CEO gets even more money.

      • There’s a much larger problem to tackle in there. The casualisation of the workforce, the growing tendency for larger companies to strip workers of rights and powers, and the government’s seeming obsession with actively encouraging those practices. Realistically, we need to work from the ground up to reassess the kind of working culture and the structures used to make sure the country is best served by both protecting the quality of life of citizens and encouraging growth for companies who are good corporate citizens. But this is a video game comment thread, so complex crossovers between politics and economics aren’t really encouraged.

        So yeah, obviously there would need to be robust legislation in place to stop rorting, but there’s really no way to justify that a person in a high management position is doing work that is 300 times more valuable to the company than someone else working the same hours.

        You pay more for skills and experience, but the director of a hospital is not 500 times more important than the cleaners who stop patients from dying of staph.

        • Yeah its not really the place for it but you are absolitely right in your response.

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