The image seen at right is taken from a Facebook group called “Gamers against Bobby Kotick & Activision“.
The description of the group says the following:
Bobby Kotick CEO of Activision, now famous for his apparent hate of video games. He has said a lot things that would make any gamers blood boil, words like ‘when I first became CEO of Activison, my aim was to take all the fun out of making games’ would discourage anyone from working Activision and who could forgot his infamous quote regarding the MW2 price rise ‘if it were up to me i’d raise prices even higher. We must make him realise that treating his customers in horrible manners will not be tolorated and we must stop him before other companies decide to copy him.
Bobby Kotick has said some really dumb things, the above poorly formatted quotes being the most egregious examples. Quotes like this have gotten him vilified throughout the gaming community. A Google search for “Bobby Kotick” turns up his Wikipedia page first, but the other results are hilariously titled:
- Activision’s Bobby Kotick brings cash, but not heart
- ActiBlizzard CEO Bobby Kotick: reward profit, remove fun
- Bobby Kotick is the Devil
My particular favorite is the Ars Technica link that says “Bobby Kotick has opened his mouth again, if you were wondering where the smell of brimstone was coming from.”
Now I can understand where these people are coming from to a certain extent. He’s come to represent everything that’s wrong with the game industry, and with quotes like the above I’m not surprised. But perhaps because of this vilification, I’ve started to find some sympathy for the guy.
What gets me is the sense of personal injury that comes through in the paragraph quoted up above. It moves seamlessly from “if it were up to me i’d raise prices even higher” to “We must make him realise that treating his customers in horrible manners will not be tolorated”. I can’t figure this. Mr. Kotick has said some ridiculous things, but how exactly has he “mistreated his customers”? Activision-Blizzard is a game publisher. They publish games. They’ve published a lot of games that I’m really excited about. They’ve published games in some ways that I didn’t necessarily like (that was a lot of Guitar Hero games), but so has virtually every game publisher.
But every game publisher doesn’t have a Bobby Kotick at the helm mouthing off, do they?
Is Bobby Kotick a bad CEO? I have no idea. Activision seems to be a successful company, though that doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s a good CEO—see Wall Street. But what does that matter to me? All that matters is the games.
It’s possible that Bobby Kotick’s influence may even be a negative one on the development studios that Activision owns. But boycotting Activision games, or spreading nasty rumors, or starting defamatory Facebook groups because of Bobby Kotick’s big mouth would be doing a disservice to the hardworking game developers that, for good or ill, threw in with him and with Activision for the long run.
Let the games, and the game developers, speak for themselves.