Activision CEO Discusses Reasons Behind ESA Departure


Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick has shed a little light on the reasons for his company’s departure from the Entertainment Software Association, and it turns out to be a simple case of “not enough bang for the buck.”

Changes at Activision, brought about primarily by the company’s merger with Vivendi, were the driving force behind the decision to leave the ESA, Kotick told the Cut Scene blog. Drastically increased membership dues, combined with what Kotick views as the unique needs of the Activision Blizzard behemoth, left him uncomfortable with the status quo relationship with the ESA. “With the combined companies, the dues went up enough that I said for it to make sense [to pay], we have to make a strategic plan,” he said. “We don’t have that because nobody owns it for us right now.”

Kotick said Blizzard’s heavy reliance on subscription income and the company’s growing Chinese presence are two reasons why he felt the ESA wasn’t necessarily the best method for representing the company’s interests. “We have our own issues that are not the industry’s issues,” he said. “Our challenges are sufficiently different from other publishers’ issues that we need our own point person. We’ll have someone soon.”

Despite his apparent belief that Activision Blizzard would be better off handling its political affairs on its own, however, Kotick also implied the company’s departure from the ESA might be temporary, claiming he told ESA President Michael Gallagher, “Don’t view it as anything but time off.” But when asked whether the company would rejoin the ESA once its affairs are in order, Kotick would only say, “We’ll consider it.”

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