Infinity Ward Bonuses to be "Redistributed"

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Infinity Ward Bonuses to be "Redistributed"

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Activision rep Dan Amrich says the "very large bonuses" owed to former Infinity Ward heads Jason West and Vince Zampella will be redistributed to the studio's remaining employees who "didn't allegedly attempt to steal company secrets."

There's been a very interesting conversation taking place in the "Gamers Against Bobby Kotick and Activision" Facebook group, where Dan Amrich, Activision's "Social Media Manager," decided to set the record straight about a lot of what's been going with the Infinity Ward debacle. He offers up some very interesting opinions and information, not least of which is the fact that the bonuses owed to West and Zampella will instead be divvied up among the employees who still remain at the studio - and who didn't engage in any kind of corporate hanky-panky.

"Vince and Jason had very large bonuses; those bonuses are being redistributed to everybody else, to the people who did not allegedly attempt to steal company secrets," he wrote. "Activision is not pocketing that bonus money; it's still going to the people who work at IW. But you have to work at IW to get it, see? :) I don't want to see talented people screwed out of a paycheck any more than you do."

He also suggested that much of the intense anger being focused toward Activision has more to do with a strong dislike of CEO Bobby Kotick's style than anything the company has actually done. "I really do believe it's the stuff Bobby has said that either came out wrong or was taken wrong," he continued. "I think the comments about 'skepticism and pessimism and fear' and 'taking the fun out of video games' are the flashpoints." And while he wishes that Kotick wouldn't "shoot from the hip" quite so much, he added that a lot of what the CEO says, is "willfully misinterpreted."

Will Amrich's initiative do anything to smooth the waters? A few people have responded positively to his entry into the fray, while others appear put off by his seemingly cavalier attitude about denying former Infinity Ward employees their bonuses; most, however, are just venting about whatever it is Activision's done recently to piss them off personally. I don't expect many hearts or minds to change but props to the man for his willingness to walk into the lion's den. See the show for yourself (it's actually a really good read) on Facebook.

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Okay, now this is just turning into a little kid's version of Discrimination.

Jack: Ohh! I know, I'll get you all presents!

Calumon: YAY!

Jack: Oh, not you. You haven't spent enough time with me today and I've seen you with that other kid rather than me, but I'll buy everyone else some!

Calumon: *Sniff* Meanie...

lol That is a funny picture, although untrue. If it were real life those would be at the very least c-notes coming out of his head, not ones and fives.

Anyone else feel like this is just an excuse to bribe remaining employees to you know, not quit?

Le Tueur:

Anyone else feel like this is just an excuse to bribe remaining employees to you know, not quit?

You took the words right out of my mouth

You know, in theory we're supposed to get more mature after taking certain steps in life. There's the basics like getting past puberty, but there's also the increased sense of maturity that you're expected to show as you become part of a superstructure like a company, or even representing your country or the world for some reason or another.

It's obvious everyone is a big baby fighting other babies in a sand box. We just use fancier language as we accuse the others of throwing sand first while still other babies cheer us on.

Seriously, fuck humanity

Ha, nice picture

Still I bet the guys who left IW are pissed off at themselves now

Catkid906:
Okay, now this is just turning into a little kid's version of Discrimination.

Jack: Ohh! I know, I'll get you all presents!

Calumon: YAY!

Jack: Oh, not you. You haven't spent enough time with me today and I've seen you with that other kid rather than me, but I'll buy everyone else some!

Calumon: *Sniff* Meanie...

Can I just say you two are adorable and leave it at that?

OT: I think that's a good way of handling this whole debacle. I mean, it doesn't matter whether or not there was any corporate foul play at this point; it's really a matter of, can Activision salvage what's left of the biggest breadwinning studio ever? I can definitely see where Activision is coming from here, is all I'm saying... and there's nothing illegal about denying people bonuses that are promised to them by a contract they themselves have broken.

I still don't like Activision.

Nevermind the IW debacle.

Nevermind what Bobby Kotick said and hasn't said.

The fact remains that they still made MW2 $10 more expensive than most games, and made people pay WAY too much for the new map pack.

Price is all I care for, my man!

To the kids reading this site here is some advice: Never work for a public company. The stockholders would happily kill you and harvest your organs if it would increase the quarterly returns by a 10th of a percent.

I honestly don't have a problem with Kotick. Maybe I don't know enough about the issues, but that fun out of video games statement seemed like a joke that people spazzed out over(as per usual).

Still, it sounds like he's just getting back at the people who left, playing it off as a small and unimportant occurance.

This honestly depends on if the guys who got fired by Activison's heavies where actually in the wrong or not. Whilst I'm more likely to assume Activison is in the wrong, given their run by evil, I will allow for the possibly the IW people where in the wrong, given they seem like occasional arseholes.

Mr. Amrich's comments trying to smooth the water do seem nice, but they don't hide the fact that Activison are evil - from attempting to stop Brutal Legend's release, to pumping out sequel after sequel, to just being arses in general, its clear Activison only cares what we think about them because their afraid it'll scare people off of buying Guitar Hero 16: We're royally screwed if we can't find more songs Edition. (though they have apparently abandoned that one)

Anywho, back to my original point - if the IW's where in the wrong to begin with, I strongly suspect its just an attempt to keep as much of the IW team who made MW2 around as possible. If the IW people weren't wrong, then this is just them being dickheads.

Andy Chalk:
"I don't want to see talented people screwed out of a paycheck any more than you do."

But that's exactly what you are doing. You are denying people the money you owe them.

And what Kotick says is "Willfully misinterpreted"? Not really, it's just Kotick who is incompetent when it comes to talking about his business plans.

Somehow I can't see this announcement doing anything else than causing more legal shenanigans.

It also adds precisely no credability to Activision's insistance they didn't fire the pair of them just to avoid giving out bonuses. Oh well, it'll all come out in court eventually, or someone will go down for perjury.

Rainboq:

Le Tueur:

Anyone else feel like this is just an excuse to bribe remaining employees to you know, not quit?

You took the words right out of my mouth

I mean what is the gist of the last five IW stories?

Random Lead of Something at IW Quits!

Doesn't it make kind of sense that they would be offering more money to the [large number: Correction by Activision] that remain?

The thing that gets my attention is that this includes the very specific accusation about "Trade Secrets" and the theft/sale thereof being involved.

Redistributing the money strikes me as a nice thing, but ultimatly a smokescreen, and does nothing to address the issue of the thuggist termination of two rather popular corperate leaders who produced some very popular and high selling products.

For all I know Activision could be justified if they are telling the truth about the "Trade Secrets" thing, after all in their place I'd do the same thing. However they are going to be a lot more specific in their accusation if they want my sympathy (or I'd imagine most of the public) on that ground. Otherwise it sounds like them just talking cr@p because really it doesn't seem that Infinity Ward's leadership had anything to gain by doing this even if it was true (that would have to be explained).

Catkid906:
Okay, now this is just turning into a little kid's version of Discrimination.

Jack: Ohh! I know, I'll get you all presents!

Calumon: YAY!

Jack: Oh, not you. You haven't spent enough time with me today and I've seen you with that other kid rather than me, but I'll buy everyone else some!

Calumon: *Sniff* Meanie...

You sir, are awesome.

Doug:

Mr. Amrich's comments trying to smooth the water do seem nice, but they don't hide the fact that Activison are evil - from attempting to stop Brutal Legend's release, to pumping out sequel after sequel, to just being arses in general, its clear Activison only cares what we think about them because their afraid it'll scare people off of buying Rock Band 16: We're royally screwed if we can't find more songs Edition.

Rock Band is published by MTV games under Viacom, and have nothing to do with activision. It's Guitar Hero that's the activision-owned game that they've already milked to the last drop and then left to die. (only 1 game coming out this year, after which Neversoft, the developping studio, is getting dissolved)

Rock band is the good one made by the people who aren't pure evil.

OT: It's a nice statement by the activision guy, makes them seem slightly more human and less pure evil, but my opinion on the matter hasn't changed, and I'll be happy to see the day that Activision goes bankrupt and Kotick goes to jail for something....anything...

Um, was it in their contracts that they'd be getting bonuses? If so, it's still their money, and Activision owes it to them. Whether or not they still work there, they made the money for Activision, they are owed it.

I also agree with others here who have said that the redistribution of the money to other employees is just a ploy to keep them from quitting.

Well, it is nice to see that the people who actually earned the money will still get the money, and, a little bit more!

Suppose one good thing they have done so far

Simalacrum:
The fact remains that they still made MW2 $10 more expensive than most games, and made people pay WAY too much for the new map pack.

I don't think they actually made people pay anything for the map pack. And as for the MW2 price, if it's too high, don't pay it.

Activision has the right to charge whatever they want for their games. Kotick could take a dump in a box and put a $200 price tag on it if he wants. I recognize that Acti has done a lot to rub people the wrong way but I don't think pricing should be considered one of them.

So wait - despite the pair actually finishing the product cycle, therefore completing the game (i.e doing their job) they aren't getting paid the bonuses they should be owed? I don't care what they did to Activision, not paying them the money they owe them after the pair created such a massive franchise that (Activion will no doubt ruin) is incredibly childish...

So far I cannot find fault with Activision in any of this. I guess it is who you believe. I believe EA did try to lure them away, and they agreed, and with it, IP that belongs to Activision.

You know, posting what people say on facebook as news is um...well kinda stupid.

Youre basically reporting hearsay as fact, granted you state it was that guys "opinion" when setting the "record straight". This of course has little to no bearing on the actual legal procedures that may be going on. Were they contractually obligated to that money? Were they found in breach of any contract? etc etc. This is a news room...or now a facebook sponsored news room. This is an over glorified focus group, but come on dont make it so blatant.

Activision still hasn't shown any proof that West and Zampella were selling company information to EA. This just looks like a smokescreen to cover up the fact that a significant chunk of one of their triple A studios has left.

Also as far as I know West and Zampella's contracts were about to end, for all we know they could have simply talking to EA about future employment.

lotr rocks 0:

Doug:

Mr. Amrich's comments trying to smooth the water do seem nice, but they don't hide the fact that Activison are evil - from attempting to stop Brutal Legend's release, to pumping out sequel after sequel, to just being arses in general, its clear Activison only cares what we think about them because their afraid it'll scare people off of buying Rock Band 16: We're royally screwed if we can't find more songs Edition.

Rock Band is published by MTV games under Viacom, and have nothing to do with activision. It's Guitar Hero that's the activision-owned game that they've already milked to the last drop and then left to die. (only 1 game coming out this year, after which Neversoft, the developping studio, is getting dissolved)

Rock band is the good one made by the people who aren't pure evil.

Fair enough, my bad - I'll edit my post to reflect that. As you can tell, I don't play many of these music games and hence get confused between the two.

Andy Chalk:

Simalacrum:
The fact remains that they still made MW2 $10 more expensive than most games, and made people pay WAY too much for the new map pack.

I don't think they actually made people pay anything for the map pack. And as for the MW2 price, if it's too high, don't pay it.

Activision has the right to charge whatever they want for their games. Kotick could take a dump in a box and put a $200 price tag on it if he wants. I recognize that Acti has done a lot to rub people the wrong way but I don't think pricing should be considered one of them.

Wasn't that basically what they did with MW2? But, in all fairness, I thought there was some argument that MW2 players were effectively forced to buy the new map pack if they wanted to stay competitive online. Or did I misunderstand that? (*Hasn't purchased a MW title since COD4*)

Come on people, you just can't expect that West and Zampella magically appeared with a studio at EA over night, they were meeting with EA while under contract with Activision.

I've said from the beginning West and Zampella are liars, they are the ones who did wrong and tried to cover it up by saying Activision only fired them to get out of paying them bonuses.

I'm pretty sure what Activision did - the taking of the money owed and giving it to other people that aren't owed it - yeah, I'm pretty sure that's illegal. Or at least can be pursued in the court of law and doesn't make them look any better. The courts already hate the big companies enough, they're just screwing themselves even further... I do not envy the lawyer that has to make them look good in front of the jury.

Oh and... Activision... kudos on the biggest ***** slap I have ever seen in my life. I don't approve of it, but wow... I felt the shockwave of it from here.

They're trying to keep the employees happy so they don't move to West and Zampella's new company.

Not only will that not work, but when West and Zampella win their lawsuit, they're going to be out double the bonus money.

Mr. Grey:
I'm pretty sure what Activision did - the taking of the money owed and giving it to other people that aren't owed it - yeah, I'm pretty sure that's illegal. Or at least can be pursued in the court of law and doesn't make them look any better. The courts already hate the big companies enough, they're just screwing themselves even further... I do not envy the lawyer that has to make them look good in front of the jury.

Oh and... Activision... kudos on the biggest ***** slap I have ever seen in my life. I don't approve of it, but wow... I felt the shockwave of it from here.

Actually its completely legal, because, technically it's not the money for the bonuses until it's dispersed to these guys. It also doesn't absolve them of whatever they owe West and Zampella. That is to say, you can't go into court and say, "sorry, these guys have no right to their bonuses because we gave them to someone else."

A simpler analogy would be, you have to pay Blurgle five bucks, contractually. You set five bucks aside. Now, you could still spend those five bucks legally, but you still have to pay Blurgle somehow, if not with this five bucks another. If you pay Athirdperson instead of Blurgle, then you're still going to have to pay Blurgle. It just doesn't have to be the five bucks you had set aside originally.

In fact it makes things worse because now Activision has acknowledged that the bonuses in fact did exist, and were going to be paid. If the court case goes against them they're still going to have to cough up the money.

EDIT: What's not legal, is if you receive an "ear-marked" donation, you then cannot legally turn around and spend it on something else. For instance a school collage receives a donation that's ear-marked for new library books. They legally can't then turn around and use that money to pay the utilities. They have to spend it on books, or hold onto it until they need money to spend on books.

xmetatr0nx:
You know, posting what people say on facebook as news is um...well kinda stupid. Youre basically reporting hearsay as fact, granted you state it was that guys "opinion" when setting the "record straight".

What you have to say about the Activision/Infinity Ward fiasco isn't newsworthy. But when the community manager at Activision responds to the situation, I'm of the opinion that it is.

Starke:
SNIP!

Okay yeah... I get what you're saying. Thanks for clearing that up.

Well that's a pretty obvious payoff, eh. Notice how they didn't do this until after some 20 guys left IW.

I think it will be funny to have them give the remaining members all the bonus money as a bribe, lose in court and have to pay out the bonuses any way, then have the remaining team up and leave them any ways. That would be all kinds of awesome.

Well, that fact that bonuses are only just being redistributed now confirms West and Zampella's claim that bonuses were being withheld.

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