Age of Kotick

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Age of Kotick

Sure, everyone knows Bobby Kotick is a jerk, but do you know why he's a jerk?

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Shamus Young:
Do you think Valve software puts games on deep discount because they love us? They do it because they can make more money when they occasionally go after the cheapskates and bargain hounds. And that's fine.

I love you for admitting this.

Anyway, that about sums it up for Kotick. They should hire you as CEO. Or at least some kind of public relations manager. Speaking of public relations...Activision has done something right, whether it was Kotick's idea, or someone elses' idea.

They hired Dan Amrich as a public relations manager.

http://www.giantbomb.com/dan-amrich/72-83285/

Reading his blog really calms me down when I start hating Activision.

It's not just that Kotick has no real expertise in the industry it's that he has an Obvious contempt for gamers and holds the creative process in very very little regard. I know in capitalism we live by the mantra that "Greed is good" but in a creative industry like gaming there is a trade-off between pure a-moral profiteering and actual worth of content, consumers don't like to feel screwed over by the man.

Activsion is most tellingly almost compleatly deviod of new, original IPs. For the past 7 years or so all they have done is pick up games either alredy in developemt and publish them or get the rights to an already sucessful franchise. I can't think on one original IP that has formed when a studio has been owned by activision.

Activision is deviod of creativity in a creative industry. I wouldn't mind Kotick if his empire actually had some spark of a new idea. Just one. There is more game creative potential in my left bollock than in Activison under Kotick.

Thank Shiva WoW is reaching the end of it's life-cycle...It'll be loads of fun watching Rome burn when it does:)
CoD isn't enough to keep Activision afloat, and let's face it, it's not like they have anything else.

Hmmm,

I think you've got some of it wrong. There is a differance between capitolism, and being ridiculously greedy. One expects businesses to want to make a fair profit, that's why they are in business, however when it turns from making a profit into exploiting consumers for every possible dime you can get out of them, it gets ridiculous and that is where the accusations of greed come from.

Believe it or not, but there was a time when businesses were content to make money, and didn't have to gouge maximum profits out of every little thing that they did.

I think people also understand Mr. Kotick and why he does what he does. I think he's realized that gamers are very similar to junkies. We'll whine, we'll complain, we'll make toothless internet petitions, but in the end no matter what a company does, if they release a good game we'll come racing to buy it (complaining all the while) no matter how we're treated, or what the terms of the company are.

What Mr. Kotick is doing is demonstrating that he can act like a complete jerk, and people will STILL come racing to buy "Starcraft", "Modern Warfare", and other titles. He's showing that his position, and the industry, is really that secure. A bulletproof cash cow so to speak with cusomers so hardwired to the products that he can literally do anything and still turn a profit. His antics seem to me to be aimed largely at investors and other businessmen, if your a fat cat, Kotick is going to see like a safe person to deal with due to the security his attitude generates.

That's how it seems to me at any rate.

In the end nothing is going to change unless gamers decide to stop acting like sheep, and go without a few of these big titles. Let a couple of multi-million dollar titles like "Modern Warfare" or a Blizzard game hit the proverbial toilet. That will adjust attitudes to show that the game industry needs to cater to us, the consumers, and give us our moneys worth (as opposed to all this DLC gouging), as opposed to use taking whatever abuse the industry wants to heap on us this week.

So if their CEO is basically shit and they can't get rid of him becaus of stock prices, why are they paying him so much?

Actvision is the games equivilant of kraft foods. It's reached the point (it thinks) where it can no longer sustain growth through internal development & innovation, & so instead pursues a policy of acquiring brands that someone else has already made a success of in order to keep that line on the profits chart pointing upwards.

The guy should learn to keep his mouth shut, however. Good CEOs let someone trained in PR do the talking for them.

Therumancer:

Believe it or not, but there was a time when businesses were content to make money, and didn't have to gouge maximum profits out of every little thing that they did.

no there wasn't. The only reason you might choose not to squeeze something for additional revenue is because not squeezing it will ultimately make more.

Awesome article, excellent point about all those people complaining that Kotick's greedy. Everyone is greedy in the business world, you just have to know the right way to do it (a la Valve, as you stated). The problem I have with Kotick is how he seems to try and force stagnation into the industry, and not even for the sake of profit, but for the sake of security.

Therumancer:
In the end nothing is going to change unless gamers decide to stop acting like sheep, and go without a few of these big titles.\

i cant agree more!

Someone please email this article to the Activision board of chairmen. Plant the seed to the end of Kotick!

Therumancer:
Hmmm,

I think you've got some of it wrong. There is a differance between capitolism, and being ridiculously greedy. One expects businesses to want to make a fair profit, that's why they are in business, however when it turns from making a profit into exploiting consumers for every possible dime you can get out of them, it gets ridiculous and that is where the accusations of greed come from.

Believe it or not, but there was a time when businesses were content to make money, and didn't have to gouge maximum profits out of every little thing that they did.

I think people also understand Mr. Kotick and why he does what he does. I think he's realized that gamers are very similar to junkies. We'll whine, we'll complain, we'll make toothless internet petitions, but in the end no matter what a company does, if they release a good game we'll come racing to buy it (complaining all the while) no matter how we're treated, or what the terms of the company are.

What Mr. Kotick is doing is demonstrating that he can act like a complete jerk, and people will STILL come racing to buy "Starcraft", "Modern Warfare", and other titles. He's showing that his position, and the industry, is really that secure. A bulletproof cash cow so to speak with cusomers so hardwired to the products that he can literally do anything and still turn a profit. His antics seem to me to be aimed largely at investors and other businessmen, if your a fat cat, Kotick is going to see like a safe person to deal with due to the security his attitude generates.

That's how it seems to me at any rate.

In the end nothing is going to change unless gamers decide to stop acting like sheep, and go without a few of these big titles. Let a couple of multi-million dollar titles like "Modern Warfare" or a Blizzard game hit the proverbial toilet. That will adjust attitudes to show that the game industry needs to cater to us, the consumers, and give us our moneys worth (as opposed to all this DLC gouging), as opposed to use taking whatever abuse the industry wants to heap on us this week.

And that's why we need to stop buying Activision crap. I did, you can't imagine they freedom of bitching about SC2 being cut into three parts when you didn't buy it, and so you're immune to return fire from fanboys:)

Also, I'm GLAD I skipped MW2, watched a mate play and BOY does that thing suck.
And you couldn't PAY me to play Guitar Hero, I still think of a guitar as a piece of wood/plastic with metal strings that make sounds while you pluck them.

Aaaaand I think I just ran out of everything ActiBlizz puts out these days, or am I missing something?

Oh, btw, I cancelled my WoW account a week before the merger came through:P

Yep, you got it pretty much right.

And yeah, it's true that we would flame him for doing something nice like opening a door. Haha, well he's a dick.

Or just awful at his job.

Either way, I still dislike him :)

I tell you what Kotick got hired for and that is to increase Activision retained profit. The shareholders feel, quite rightly, that a company with a $4 billion turnover should be making more than 120 million in profit. That's only around 3% profit so its hardly being greedy. Kotick is there to do the unpopular things, to cut costs and to increase revenues from the existing business. There is no amount of PR is going to disguise this, so he will ignore it all the hate until he steps down to spend more with his share options. He will stay there for about 3 years and the next guy will be all touchy feely and have the shiny PR. His replacement wont have to do the nasty things and will have freedom to do the things that is suggested in the article.

I bet Shamus could run the shit out of that company. In a good way.

Cousin_IT:
Actvision is the games equivilant of kraft foods. It's reached the point (it thinks) where it can no longer sustain growth through internal development & innovation, & so instead pursues a policy of acquiring brands that someone else has already made a success of in order to keep that line on the profits chart pointing upwards.

The guy should learn to keep his mouth shut, however. Good CEOs let someone trained in PR do the talking for them.

Holy mother of Raptor Jesus, I think this man is correct. Do you realize that this makes EA the innovative one? E...fucking....A....
The Apocalypse has come, take the women and children, kill them first, spare them the suffering of the final battle between evil and MORE evil.

I just read the history of Activison since Kotick's been there and...damn.

He's a bigger asshole than I thought.

albino boo:
I tell you what Kotick got hired for and that is to increase Activision retained profit. The shareholders feel, quite rightly, that a company with a $4 billion turnover should be making more than 120 million in profit. That's only around 3% profit so its hardly being greedy. Kotick is there to do the unpopular things, to cut costs and to increase revenues from the existing business. There is no amount of PR is going to disguise this, so he will ignore it all the hate until he steps down to spend more with his share options. He will stay there for about 3 years and the next guy will be all touchy feely and have the shiny PR. His replacement wont have to do the nasty things and will have freedom to do the things that is suggested in the article.

Hey, I'm not saying what Bobby's doing is wrong for Activision(it is in the long term, but that's beside the point I'm trying to make).
I'm saying that those PR guys are getting paid to spin stuff like "We want to charge extra for multiplayer" so that it sounds GOOD.
Bobby should do what every good CEO does, shut up and only show his face in public to promote new products.

I honestly think that most of this article is a bunch of bullshit. Yeah I know that lots of people hate the guy and that it's pretty easy to hate the guy, but implying he's absolutely terrible at his job? Bullshit.

He isn't terrible. Given the position that Activision is in right now, I'm inclined to say he's pretty good. He isn't the smartest fox when it comes to public relations, but does it really matter? How many sales did CoD lose after he bloated about his retarded money making shemes? Not a lot.

He really dropped the ball with the IW fiasco, but he made up for it. Guess who they have in place instead of IW now? Bungie. So much for attracting good talent to Activision. Now they can create original, sequel worthy games.

Get a PR guy to stick to Kotick like white on rice. Problem solved. ...more or less.

theaceplaya:
Get a PR guy to stick to Kotick like white on rice. Problem solved. ...more or less.

Actually, Bobby would need Ben Kenobi standing right next to him on every press conference, waving his hand and saying "He did not just say that"...

erztez:

And that's why we need to stop buying Activision crap. I did, you can't imagine they freedom of bitching about SC2 being cut into three parts when you didn't buy it, and so you're immune to return fire from fanboys:)

Also, I'm GLAD I skipped MW2, watched a mate play and BOY does that thing suck.
And you couldn't PAY me to play Guitar Hero, I still think of a guitar as a piece of wood/plastic with metal strings that make sounds while you pluck them.

Aaaaand I think I just ran out of everything ActiBlizz puts out these days, or am I missing something?

Oh, btw, I cancelled my WoW account a week before the merger came through:P

Ok, thats scary. I did the exact same things. I did not buy a Call of Duty since the first one, i did not buy a Guitar Hero or anything else Activison published in the last 5 years and i even cancelled my WoW sub. a week before Blizzard was bought. And yes i even avoided SC2 for the same reason.

The only thing we need is approx. 15 million clones of us to make a change.

The Imp:

erztez:

And that's why we need to stop buying Activision crap. I did, you can't imagine they freedom of bitching about SC2 being cut into three parts when you didn't buy it, and so you're immune to return fire from fanboys:)

Also, I'm GLAD I skipped MW2, watched a mate play and BOY does that thing suck.
And you couldn't PAY me to play Guitar Hero, I still think of a guitar as a piece of wood/plastic with metal strings that make sounds while you pluck them.

Aaaaand I think I just ran out of everything ActiBlizz puts out these days, or am I missing something?

Oh, btw, I cancelled my WoW account a week before the merger came through:P

Ok, thats scary. I did the exact same things. I did not buy a Call of Duty since the first one, i did not buy a Guitar Hero or anything else Activison published in the last 5 years and i even cancelled my WoW sub. a week before Blizzard was bought. And yes i even avoided SC2 for the same reason.

The only thing we need is approx. 15 million clones of us to make a change.

I'm working on the clones, trust me. Unfortunately, all the best cloning experts were snatched up by ActiBlizz to work on CoD:MW27.
Also, got you beat, didn't even buy the first CoD, found a game box with the CD-key still on it when I moved in:P

Very nice article. Consumers who play games need to realize that at the end of the day we need to acknowledge that Kotick is on our side when representing the video game industry. Drama always happens and the drama that gets Kotick that resentment is only internal that really doesn't affect the consumer directly.

Do people know that Kotick and Activision is on our side for the Supreme court case ensuring that video games are protected under free speech? A man like Kotick has the resources to have a lot of political pull visiting and informing politicians and educating those that dissent that games like Postal are not the common. Sure Kotick wants to advertise the Call of Duty series but you'd be damned sure that Kotick will easily prop up the real mascots of the video game industry like Mario and show dissenters that statistically that M rated games are the minority compared to E rated and T rated games.

We as consumers do have the right to complain and not purchase games that we find aren't doing enough to make the video game industry better be it art, story, and gameplay. But at the end of the day you have to know who your allies are and for that despite being drama creator Kotick is on our side.

There are hundreds of thousands of talented business majors in the world that would love a crack at a high-paying, high-profile job like this,

Have you BEEN to business school? I'm an accounting major. The people who are my peers are exactly like Kotick. Wouldn't know their ass from a hole in the ground, possess no imagination or initiative whatsoever, and are taught from Day One to do exactly what Kotick is doing. Reduce risk, provide steady returns, create business models that analysts outside their industries can readily understand.

Bobby Kotick IS the best of the best at what he does. It's just not readily apparent because business school is the art of learning how to get paid shitloads of money to be a professional fuckwad.

("But Fox! You're a business major! Are you saying you're an idiot too?" FUCK AND YES, but at least I'll be a rich idiot. I'd have majored in creative writing if I had a Harry Potter spell to make my student loans disappear.)

The problem I see with Kotick, at the end of the dya hes a businessan, wanting to make mney. Im ok with that - But, when he goes aroun flaunting it, and putting it in your face thats when it upsets me

Jaredin:
The problem I see with Kotick, at the end of the dya hes a businessan, wanting to make mney. Im ok with that - But, when he goes aroun flaunting it, and putting it in your face thats when it upsets me

Oh, I got no problem with rich people flaunting their ill-gotten gains (if I did, I sure as hell wouldn't be driving the car I am). It's just that I don't call a press conference to rub the poor bastards noses in it.
Lynch mobs are a nasty bunch, best to avoid them.

SimuLord:

There are hundreds of thousands of talented business majors in the world that would love a crack at a high-paying, high-profile job like this,

Have you BEEN to business school? I'm an accounting major. The people who are my peers are exactly like Kotick. Wouldn't know their ass from a hole in the ground, possess no imagination or initiative whatsoever, and are taught from Day One to do exactly what Kotick is doing. Reduce risk, provide steady returns, create business models that analysts outside their industries can readily understand.

Bobby Kotick IS the best of the best at what he does. It's just not readily apparent because business school is the art of learning how to get paid shitloads of money to be a professional fuckwad.

("But Fox! You're a business major! Are you saying you're an idiot too?" FUCK AND YES, but at least I'll be a rich idiot. I'd have majored in creative writing if I had a Harry Potter spell to make my student loans disappear.)

Intl. Economics major (doesn't really apply with our education system, but wth) here. I agree, boy do I agree. But even we moneygrabbers know enough to differentiate what we say to the shareholders and to the goddamn public.

Some conversations belong in the boardroom and should never, under any circumstances be allowed to leak. Ever.

Bobby has basically set his facebook status to "hehe gamerz r st0pid, they keep givin me moniez even tho I think they're utter retardz". While he is perfectly justifiable in thinking that, he should have the common business sense to keep quiet about it.

erztez:

SimuLord:

There are hundreds of thousands of talented business majors in the world that would love a crack at a high-paying, high-profile job like this,

Have you BEEN to business school? I'm an accounting major. The people who are my peers are exactly like Kotick. Wouldn't know their ass from a hole in the ground, possess no imagination or initiative whatsoever, and are taught from Day One to do exactly what Kotick is doing. Reduce risk, provide steady returns, create business models that analysts outside their industries can readily understand.

Bobby Kotick IS the best of the best at what he does. It's just not readily apparent because business school is the art of learning how to get paid shitloads of money to be a professional fuckwad.

("But Fox! You're a business major! Are you saying you're an idiot too?" FUCK AND YES, but at least I'll be a rich idiot. I'd have majored in creative writing if I had a Harry Potter spell to make my student loans disappear.)

Intl. Economics major (doesn't really apply with our education system, but wth) here. I agree, boy do I agree. But even we moneygrabbers know enough to differentiate what we say to the shareholders and to the goddamn public.

Some conversations belong in the boardroom and should never, under any circumstances be allowed to leak. Ever.

Bobby has basically set his facebook status to "hehe gamerz r st0pid, they keep givin me moniez even tho I think they're utter retardz". While he is perfectly justifiable in thinking that, he should have the common business sense to keep quiet about it.

I'll grant that, and I'll also grant that speaking as someone who's had writing published, turning a 25-word idea into an 800-word column on a deadline is easier said than done so I don't fault Shamus for doing so.

/sorry, Shamus! :)

erztez:

albino boo:
I tell you what Kotick got hired for and that is to increase Activision retained profit. The shareholders feel, quite rightly, that a company with a $4 billion turnover should be making more than 120 million in profit. That's only around 3% profit so its hardly being greedy. Kotick is there to do the unpopular things, to cut costs and to increase revenues from the existing business. There is no amount of PR is going to disguise this, so he will ignore it all the hate until he steps down to spend more with his share options. He will stay there for about 3 years and the next guy will be all touchy feely and have the shiny PR. His replacement wont have to do the nasty things and will have freedom to do the things that is suggested in the article.

Hey, I'm not saying what Bobby's doing is wrong for Activision(it is in the long term, but that's beside the point I'm trying to make).
I'm saying that those PR guys are getting paid to spin stuff like "We want to charge extra for multiplayer" so that it sounds GOOD.
Bobby should do what every good CEO does, shut up and only show his face in public to promote new products.

Look what I'm saying is that Kotick wants all the flak to be aimed at him. He wants to be Mr Nasty so all the blame attaches to him and not the company. If all the hate is focused at Kotick it makes his successors job much easier of changing the image of the company. That's the strategy what the PR guys are getting paid the big bucks for.

erztez:
And you couldn't PAY me to play Guitar Hero, I still think of a guitar as a piece of wood/plastic with metal strings that make sounds while you pluck them.

You could pay me to play Guitar Hero. Hell, you could pay me to play Big Rigs all day if the money was good enough. But then I'm lazy as hell at heart.

Every time i see his name, this comes to mind

Can't think why though =\

I just hope that by the time I graduate from uni the game industry will have hit rock bottom with only a way back up, I really don't want to enter a ship that's sinking.

I know there's hope out there, with many strongstanding developers and fresh, indie blood flowing, but after being so desperately optimistic the last few years it seems that bright, or at least modest, future I longed for is being replaced by a strong resentment to finish my studies just yet.

Mr. Kotick's biggest flaw is how out of touch with his customer base he truly is. And this eventually is something that will come and bite him on the ass. Karma has its way.
Stifling game development to franchise-only elements is a surefire way to burn a customer-base out. Eventually people will tire of CoD XLI and look for something else. Or on the other hand, the smarter customer goes where the talent is, not necessarily where the franchise name is. So if your business gaffe's have forced out some really good developers, they'll go somewhere else to make a game and the customer base will follow them. Or maybe just the smart ones. Even now you can see the decline of the whole Rock Band/Guitar Hero phase. Beat a series to death, and don't be surprised when you realize it truly is dead.
Look at the whole DDR craze, its gone pretty much the way of the dodo other than at arcades.
I guess my whole point is, this guy's and idiot and eventually things will turn on him, hopefully Activision doesn't go down with him because there is talent there.
And one can't milk Blizzard forever... they're bound to die out some day, just like everything else.

Look what I'm saying is that Kotick wants all the flak to be aimed at him. He wants to be Mr Nasty so all the blame attaches to him and not the company. If all the hate is focused at Kotick it makes his successors job much easier of changing the image of the company. That's the strategy what the PR guys are getting paid the big bucks for.

The sad thing is...it ain't working. Sure, good ol' Bob is catching SOME of the flak, but as per my previous posts, I, and some like me, are refusing to buy ANY Activision product. Firing Bob won't make a difference, people like Tippl(the current COO) are still there. Just because you remove the tumor doesn't mean the cancer's gone.

My problem with the man is that despite all of his outward greed (which is apparently the sole driving force in a capitalist economy...so greed clearly isn't evil [*rolls eyes*]), he could be putting this motivation to good use...but doesn't.

He could be trying to finance the next level of gaming...but he won't. Fuck, if it weren't for their addiction to sequels, they could very well make even more money by exploring niche markets.

But no. The one and only market that matters to Kotick (and his company, by extension) is the mainstream. In short, they don't want to expand the market, they want to milk it dry before their competition can.

He fires his (wildly profitable) developers just before a contract ends so he doesn't have to pay royalties to them. He wants to sell features of a game you already fucking paid for (I'm not purchasing the opportunity to buy the game, am I?).

He hates the consumer enough to (essentially) continuously brag in public about how fucking rich he is. Worst of all, is that he can attribute his success to the same gullible fucks the world over.

Bobby Kotick is the only CEO I have ever seen who wants to deliberately devalue his products so he can set the future industry standard.

And in the world of corporate greed, I'm unsure if the man is either a hack, or a psychotic genius. He's a scary force in the gaming world though, and his sort of attitude is exactly the sort of thing that turns me away from new titles.

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