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2. He should be good at finding and attracting talent, and at inspiring and motivating his people.

The list of disgruntled former Activision employees is long. The relationship he has with his people is an antagonistic one. There are few people who aren't getting checks signed by Kotick that have nice things to say about him, and people who leave his employ usually have a lot of animosity for him. He's not known as "tough, but fair." Or, "hard-nosed but wise." Or even, "cutthroat but practical." He's just a regular old garden-variety jerk. If you were one of the top people in game development, would you want to work someplace where you've got to sue your employer to get your promised bonus after you make the most successful game in history?

3. He needs to posses a keen understanding of the gaming industry.

Remember when Kotick said that, "With respect to the franchises that don't have the potential to be exploited every year across every platform with clear sequel potential that can meet our objectives of over time becoming $100 million plus franchises, that's a strategy that has worked very well for us."

The idea that you can't make money with non-sequels is a ridiculous one. All franchises began as not sequels, you know? What this statement says to me is that Kotick can't tell a good game from a bad one, so he'd rather stick to churning out sequels because he can tell a sequel from a non-sequel. Note the casual game revolution and the motion control revolution of the past few years. The people who launched those revolutions made a lot of money. Kotick's plan is simply engineered stagnation.

4. He should be skilled at public relations.

Just do a search for Kotick and you'll find dozens and dozens of public statements from the guy that are followed by indignation and outrage from gamers. (Who could also be thought of as, "potential Activision customers.") It's not wrong that he wishes he could charge more for games. Every company wishes they could charge more for their products, and will do so if it makes sound business sense. But most of them aren't so clueless as to brag about it in public. WalMart doesn't triumphantly announce when they raise prices. Grocery stores don't buy billboard space to announce that they're cutting cashiers and so you'll be standing in line 50 percent longer. This isn't secret arcane knowledge. This isn't even Marketing 101. This is pedestrian common sense. And Kotick doesn't have it.

You might argue that, "If he wasn't making money they would fire him, therefore he's good at his job." But in business things aren't nearly that simple. Sure, the company is making money, but I think it could be making a lot more if the CEO knew what he was doing. You can't look at alternate histories and see that the company would make more or less if it was doing different things. If all you want is for Activision-Blizzard to make money - any money - then they could fire Kotick and hire a desk lamp, because Blizzard was an unstoppable cash-generating dynamo before Kotick ever sat down in the CEO chair. The question isn't, "Are they making money?" but "Would they be making more money with someone else's ideas and leadership?"

Another thing to remember is that getting rid of your CEO is usually a negative thing for a publicly held company. It hurts the stock price and makes the board look bad, so there are reasons they might hang onto Kotick even if the board was unhappy with his performance. The point is, the fact that he has a job isn't proof that he's any good at it or that someone else couldn't do a lot better. Activision deserves more for its fifteen million bucks. So do gamers.

Shamus Young is the guy behind Twenty Sided, DM of the Rings, Stolen Pixels, Shamus Plays, and Spoiler Warning. Beat that, fanboy.

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