The New York Times ran a lengthy profile of Activision CEO Bobby Kotick in the Business section of its paper over the weekend. Since taking over as the head of Activision, Kotick has been a steady target for gamer animosity. Fans of the medium often indicate that Kotick has overseen the oversaturation of Activision's biggest franchises. For evidence, they point towards Tony Hawk, Guitar Hero and Call of Duty.
What does Kotick have to say about the matter of oversaturation and one of Activision's now dead franchises? Here he is on Guitar Hero:
Gamers and critics disagree with that point, myself included. Between 2005 and 2010, Acitivision released 16 Hero games. 16. Activision hurt the rhythm gaming genre significantly with their oversaturation of the Hero franchise.
"Guitar Hero was much more about us not innovating in a way that was appealing to audiences…It's not about oversaturating the market"
The whole article from The New York Times reads in this fashion. Kotick, through his own quotes and the verbage of the story, is painted in an exceptionally positive light. For gamers, regardless of how true the article is, this is jarring. Kotick has always been marked as the bane of the industry, a widget salesman with no love for the product he's in charge of selling. Michael Pachter, an often cited analyst from Wedbush Securities, offered up this bit about the perception of Kotick:
"He gets wealthy if investors get wealthy and that's why investors really like the guy and most gamers hate the guy."
Perhaps that's why a positive article covering Bobby Kotick is running in the Business section of The New York Times.
Among everything Kotick's supposedly done while at the helm of Activision, the debacle surrounding Infinity Ward that spans the last several years likely stands as the one gamers cite the most. We've covered bits and pieces of the incident before, which you can find linked on the right of this story, but it essentially boils down to this: Kotick fired the heads of Infinity Ward, Jason West and Vince Zampella, because they planned to leave the studio. The grounds for their dismissal, coupled with the way they were dismissed and Activision's strange behavior throughout the process, has drawn a lot of gamer ire. Here's how Kotick regards the incident:
"You find out two executives are planning to break their contracts, keep the money you gave them and steal 40 employees. What do you do? You fire them…"
Regardless of your personal feelings towards Activision and its CEO, this portrayal of Kotick is interesting. Give it a read by hitting The New York Times source link below.