Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick Talks Gaming, Hates Happy People

Last weekend, Activision CEO Bobby Kotick gave details on what he believes represents the future of gaming—and managed to become the poster child for unhappy workplaces. We'll talk gaming first.

Current-generation consoles like the PS3, XBox 360, and Wii have been very kind to Activision and its lucrative Guitar Hero franchise, but Kotick doesn't seem inclined to pay much attention to them over the next couple years. Rather than picking one console to support above the other two, Kotick plans to develop games that bypass consoles altogether and are playable on TV media hubs or equivalent technologies. This could broaden the spectrum of gamers, and bring others into the fold, but it's a rather strange proposition, given that even a cutting-edge 'media hub' isn't going to pack the processor power or graphics capability of even a modest PC or current-generation console.

Animation and facial structure was another major discussion topic; Kotick claimed that developers don't take full advantage of current hardware, and doesn't expect the next generation of consoles to appear in the next two years. Before that happens, Activision will have completed its work on the animation project mentioned above. Bobby claims the new engine will help gaming move one step closer to true realistic imaging, and that the technology will be available for use on the next generation of consoles, as opposed to surfacing too late, after components and capabilities have been locked in.

NVIDIA Medusa Tech Demo - Facial Animation

Kotick's real bombshell of a statement didn't hit until he stopped talking about gaming technology and started discussing his views on corporate culture. According to Gamespot, Kotick "pointed to changes he implemented in the past as being particularly beneficial, such as designing the employee incentive program so it 'really rewards profit and nothing else.'"

The red is starting to make more and more sense...

According to the CEO, studio heads now regularly argue with CFO's over the allocation of funds, each competing with the others for cash. If this doesn't sound like much fun—and it doesn't—that's Bobby's stated plan. "We have a real culture of thrift," Kotick 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."

The CEO's long-term vision, in his own words, is to instill the corporate culture with "skepticism, pessimism, and fear...We are very good at keeping people focused on the deep depression." You'd think the man might've learned his lesson when indivuals and press organizations decried his plan to strictly focus on games that "have the potential to be exploited every year on every platform with clear sequel potential and have the potential to become $100 million dollar franchises." Evidently not. In Bobby's world, the best games are produced when every employee is in a constate state of fear, projects are always on the brink of being killed, the ability to generate profit is the only yardstick by which an employee's value is measured, and—let's not forget—making video games is not fun.

Wow. Just wow. Hopefully Activision will vote to change its CEO before playing games becomes just as not-fun as designing them is apparently supposed to be.
Via:  Gamespot
Kyouya 5 years ago

What kind of man encourages fear and depression to his employees in a corporate culture? I am sick and tired of this tactic of fear that corporations use on their employees. It ruins lives and just brings cynic views on life in general.

dizowned 5 years ago

Playing a lil devil's advocate here ... you really can't be mad at the guy considering the current economic times. In business sense the mark of a good business is a profitable one and thats pretty much it. Remember, now-a-days, a CEO's main job is to keep the shareholders happy - which literally translates into keep them rich, employees be damned ... I mean I can always find someone to do your job cheaper ....

Practically none of this really works, but I think this guy is actually living up to it ... and to think I wanted to work for Blizzard, but I'm having second thoughts about it now ...

bob_on_the_cob 5 years ago

[quote user="dizowned"]Playing a lil devil's advocate here ... you really can't be mad at the guy considering the current economic times. [/quote]

Yeah, but he said that's what he was moving them to 10 years ago. When everyone was sitting pretty. What a ass.

3vi1 5 years ago

Congrats Bobby! Your statements just lost Activision a customer, until you're out of a job.

The people who do the best job are people who love what they do.

Crisis Causer 5 years ago

This is one of the reasons I'm scared that they bought Blizzard.  This and Activision seems to be "Call of Duty, Guitar Hero, Tony Hawk" only now-a-days while they ignore original IPs.  I don't really hate EA anymore because while they put out $60 roster updates every year they still take chances and make original and fun games like Mirror's Edge.

FaceTheSlayer 5 years ago

I hope he dies slow painful death.

Joel H 5 years ago

Dizowned, you said: "you really can't be mad at the guy considering the current economic times...the mark of a good business is a profitable one and thats pretty much it."

Now, I don't want to sound offensive, but step back a moment and read what you just wrote. Then recall *which* company, exactly, we're talking about.

Blizzard. World of Warcraft. Starcraft 2. Diablo III.

Are you aware that WoW alone accounted for something like 54 percent of Blizzard Activision's net *revenue* last year?

The company already makes such an epic ton of money, Bobby Kotick could use $100 bills as toilet paper, kleenex, and cleaning up doggie doo.

Kiristo 5 years ago

Having encountered many, many people that are useless in my career and get by without repercussions, and will likely retire as such, I would agree with his productivity incentive idea. People who suck shouldn't be employed... at least not where they suck at their jobs. Send them to BK or something, get them the hell out of my career field, and give me some of the extra money that was wasted on them since I make up for their lack of work already anyway. Granted, that will never happen. At least not where I work.

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