Bobby Kotick Wants to Take the Fun Out of Making Games

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Bobby Kotick Wants to Take the Fun Out of Making Games

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Activision CEO Bobby Kotick has a real knack for words: At a recent conference in San Francisco he said that one of his goals when he became head of the company was to "take all the fun out of making videogames."

No, that's not taken out of context. I'm as much a fan of attention-grabbing headlines as anyone but in this case, as is becoming his habit, Kotick merely said what he was thinking and, one must assume, meant what he said. In a speech to the Deutsche Bank Securities Technology Conference yesterday, Kotick talked about the future of the Guitar Hero franchise "untethered" from consoles and how technology has not yet reached the point where gamers can develop real emotional attachments to on-screen characters.

"I think what the untethered Guitar Hero does is equal the playing field a little more and give you some leverage with first parties when it comes to downloadable content and the business model," he said when asked about a potential future in which the game wouldn't require a console. He also suggested that at some point in the future gamers could have their Facebook profiles integrated into the game, allowing them to share songs and post high scores on their profile page.

But the real bomb dropped, from a gamer's perspective at least, when he touted the company's intense focus on the bottom line above all else, noting that the company's employee incentive program "really rewards profit and nothing else."

"We have a real culture of thrift," he said. "The goal that I had in bringing a lot of the packaged goods folks into Activision about 10 years ago was to take all the fun out of making video games."

And then, to ensure there was no confusion in his message, he added that he has tried to instill "skepticism, pessimism, and fear" of the economic downturn into the corporate culture at Activision. "We are very good at keeping people focused on the deep depression," he said.

This isn't the first time Kotick has displayed a brazen disregard for what anyone aside from a handful of high-powered money men thinks of him and his antics at the top of the Activision pile (remember the "I'd raise prices even higher" thing?) but it looks to me like he's slowly and methodically edging his way from "hard-ass CEO" to "that guy who's on the cover of the Overlord 2 box." And yet, under his watch Activision has grown to become the industry's one true behemoth. So maybe he's on to something. Maybe, at the end of the day, evil works.

Consider that your pleasant thought of the day.

Source: GameSpot

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Evil son of a bitch.

Oh, the beauty of true evil...
It's...incredible to behold.

If I could, I would share an evil laugh with this man (as he picked my pocket.)

Well we all know evil works. You just don't go broadcasting it all over.

OT: Wow I would never expect him to just come out with more and more quotes like this. When is it ever good to take the fun out of something rather than inject more in.

Everybody, meet the new Jack Thompson.

Funny thing is, taking fun out of video games renders them not games, thus, not good money.
His philosophy is flawed.

Maybe he's trying the Uwe Boll way of making his name famous. Just spewing out as many dumb, stupid and crowd angering statements as possible, there is no such thing as bad press after all.

Well, one more person for me to hate.

Man hes a real dick.

Booze Zombie:
Funny thing is, taking fun out of video games renders them not games, thus, not good money.
His philosophy is flawed.

He's not taking the fun out of video games, just out of making them.

He just put on an elaborate disguise! Aaaaaaaahhhh!

Yeah, it's an evil point of view and sadly like the article says it's working. People forget that the game industry is still a business and you can't continue to make games if you are not making money. He also doesn't have a reason to change his views. The company is making money hand over fist releasing pretty much the same game over and over, with a new bell or widget added in.

The big flaw in what Bob is doing is that by ruling by fear and taking the fun out of making games he is hindering creativity and the development of new IP. What's Bob going to do when WoW isn't bringing in Millions a month, or Guitar Hero 7 sells terribly? He's not going to have a lot to fall back on. Then hopefully Karma will come and kick him in the ass and out the door.

Well, I would agree on that "being evil" does your economy damn well, if not for the fact that in the long run they'll fall flat on their faces for doing the same shit over and over again.

Just look at the Gamecube, even the Xbox outsold it, the only reason Nintendo is still around is because they managed to make one hell of a comeback with the Wii and DS. Activision can only pump their franchises for so long, the people who make the games will even get fed up and just say "fuck it, I'm out of here" after a certain amount of time.

My point is, Bobby Kotick is slowly draining all quality Activision ever had out of it.

I'm inclined to call hyperbole at this point. He must know he is the most hated man in the industry at this point, I honestly think he's just saying these things now, well, for teh lulz. No man can truly be that calloused.

Seeing as he's the man responsible for taking the creativity and charm out of the Guitar Hero franchise, this comes as no surprise to me...

...regardless, BURN THE WITCH!!!

Can something be fun that wasn't made with a sense of fun? Maybe.

Is something made with a sense of fun with an intention of being fun for others at risk of not being fun? Never.

Well, probably almost never...

Well considering all of the shovelware under the Activision name I think he is succeeding. Imagine how soulcrushing it would be to be a developer working on the "Dancing With the Stars" home game. I would smash my monitor and slice my wrists with the jagged shards.

So much evil... we, we can't stop that. No one can, he'll just keep going until the world is dried up and dead.

NO! I won't except that! KAAAAAAAA... MEEEEEEE... HAAAAAAAAA...

No seriously business man acting, businessy? Woah, blew my mind.

Wow. Compare these thoughts to what the founder of EA has to say in this week's magazine, about what motivated him when building that company, and it paints a pretty grim picture of how far videogame has come from it's roots.

I can understand where he's coming from... but I disagree.

He wants to make Videogame Making an entirely corporate, profit based persuit rather than the mad collective of Programmers and Artists that currently make up many games studios (yes even casual ones, I know someone working in a local studio and they're still all crazy artists and programmers, not corporate hot shots).

He wants to make Activision the Disney of Videogaming, cranking out generic, intensely "focus group designed" games, which is not "fun" so to speak. He wants a videogame assembly line to maximize profits and what he described as his work environment is one way to do that.

However, my girlfriend works for a man with the same outlook as good old Bobby... and this gentleman's company is failing due to his inability to hold on to knowledgable staff, the unmotivated nature of the workers (people won't work REALLY hard for you if they hate you) and the environment of extreme favoritism and backstabbing that leads to the occasional "sabotage" of jobs.

It's only a matter of time until people want something more than just another Guitar Hero sequel, mr. Kotick. Let us hear you say these things again after that.

I think we're getting there now actually with more and more original and creative titles doing better and better in terms of sales and media coverage.

I'd pack my bags Bobby, just in case.

Wow. This has proven to me that Kotick is an absolute idiot when it comes to games.

Look at Nintendo for example. They know to put fun IN TO their games, not take it out (even if it isn't fun for everyone, they're trying. I'll give them that). And just look how much they're making.

Kotick needs to go back to school.

Pendragon9:

Kotick needs to go back to school.

I would rather he have a nice roundhouse kick to the face........twice.

It's like the guy is purposely trying to make people hate him. Or prehaps he just has no conscious and doesn't try to hide it.

He does this on purpose. Look, now you ALL know about Activision.

ChromeAlchemist:
I'm inclined to call hyperbole at this point. He must know he is the most hated man in the industry at this point, I honestly think he's just saying these things now, well, for teh lulz. No man can truly be that calloused.

I agree that he is probably getting a kick out of it. That doesn't mean that he isn't playing some sort of ha-ha-only-serious routine and really is a killjoy.

Fucking hell.

What is wrong with this man? The whole point of video games is fun, even the developers should be allowed to enjoy what they do! This man should NOT be allowed to drive this company, he is a right bastard and would be more suited in something where you steal candy from little children, or some thing like that.

ChromeAlchemist:
I'm inclined to call hyperbole at this point. He must know he is the most hated man in the industry at this point, I honestly think he's just saying these things now, well, for teh lulz. No man can truly be that calloused.

While I don't subscribe to it, the idea that Kotick is real-world trolling is delicious.

When he said the thing about charging more, I don't blame him. From a pure business perspective, of course you charge more if the market would bear it. That's where profit comes from. Sure, Ferrari probably COULD charge less per car, but why would they, when people are willing to pay that much? Supply/Demand curves are real things, and price-setting is all about maximizing profits ($60 item, cut price by $5, get 5 million additional sales, let's do a price-drop!). This quote though? The idea that jobs should NOT be fun because fun is counter-productive, ugh. If they did that at my workplace, I'd be gone in 2 months.

That motherfucker!

I don't think I'll be working at Activision any time soon.

PedroSteckecilo:
I can understand where he's coming from... but I disagree.

He wants to make Videogame Making an entirely corporate, profit based persuit rather than the mad collective of Programmers and Artists that currently make up many games studios (yes even casual ones, I know someone working in a local studio and they're still all crazy artists and programmers, not corporate hot shots).

He wants to make Activision the Disney of Videogaming, cranking out generic, intensely "focus group designed" games, which is not "fun" so to speak. He wants a videogame assembly line to maximize profits and what he described as his work environment is one way to do that.

However, my girlfriend works for a man with the same outlook as good old Bobby... and this gentleman's company is failing due to his inability to hold on to knowledgable staff, the unmotivated nature of the workers (people won't work REALLY hard for you if they hate you) and the environment of extreme favoritism and backstabbing that leads to the occasional "sabotage" of jobs.

This...

He pretty much understands the basic idea of economy but not the nature of the beast he is trying to control. There is a reason that Disney cranks out so much direct to video shit and why only idiots buy it. Activision is going to end up in that limbo of cranking out crap without Disney's legion of obsessive princess fans.

Activision is really trying to be the greedy, employee-crushing, sequel spewing company that EA *used* to be. Whats that slogan about repetition and history or something?

I used to think that EA was evil, but this guy takes the creativity-stomping cake.
The Video Game Industry is just that, an Industry. And it looks like we the gamers shall suffer for it.

Oh well, sooner or later he will turn up dead, surrounded by piles of cocain and screaming, abused, underaged male prostitutes, we'll all have a good laugh.

People like him are always doing something extremely nasty in the background, all we have to do is wait for him to get caught.

fix-the-spade:
Oh well, sooner or later he will turn up dead, surrounded by piles of cocain and screaming, abused, underaged male prostitutes, we'll all have a good laugh.

People like him are always doing something extremely nasty in the background, all we have to do is wait for him to get caught.

Yeah, there's no way this guy doesn't run human trafficking businesses or something.

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