If an Activision studio hasn't proven its worth, it won't be creating a new IP.
Activision CEO Bobby Kotick says it likes the company's studios to retain their identities, but they might have to earn the right to do so first. Despite criticizing EA for not allowing its studios to retain their "independent vision," that same vision at Activision appears to come with a cost.
Speaking in Edge magazine, Kotick says that studios usually have to be "successful" to be able to go and create a new IP. "In the last year, we've taken four or five big bets - Singularity, Prototype, DJ Hero and Blur were completely new," he said. "That's more than we usually would do, but in each case there was a very good reason why the developer chose to do it."
But these IPs aren't just given away. "Our process isn't that we say, 'Neversoft, you make a new IP,'" he continued. "When they wanted to make Gun, they certainly earned the right to make new IP. They came in and said, 'This is our idea,' and we provide a lot of the research that will tell them how to think about the product."
"Then they go off and make the game they want to make, and we try and be supportive. You have to earn the right to do that, so it's usually the really successful studios that get the right."
He then says that typically Activision's successful studios haven't wanted to make anything else other than what made them popular. "The really insightful developers realise that the pathway to innovation is greater from a proven property that has an audience... There are so few new IPs that are introduced successfully."
Doesn't this sound a little bit like Activision allows an "independent vision" with reluctance? It's smart business sense, but with Kotick saying that EA stifles its studios by making them follow EA's rules, it seems somewhat hypocritical from a company doing that appears to be the same thing.