Update: check out Bobby Kotick’s latest shenanigans here.
I don’t know exactly how it happened, but we’ve managed to get this far into 2010, otherwise known as the year Bobby Kotick raped and murdered the video game industry, without naming the Activision Blizzard CEO a Shameful Human of the Week. In a way, it’s understandable, the volume of hate the man deserves is overwhelming.
In early March, Kotick fired Vince Zampella and Jason West, the creative talent behind his company’s blockbuster Call of Duty franchise, and heads of Infinity Ward, the studio behind the games. That was quickly followed by a mighty lawsuit from the pair, who alleged they were harassed out of the company, ostensibly so that Activision could get out of paying their bonuses.
Since that time, 38 current and former employees of Infinity Ward have launched a lawsuit of their own, seeking somewhere between 125 million and half a billion dollars. The group is alleging largely the same things as their former bosses, but also claiming “Activision withheld the property of the IWEG in an attempt to keep the employees hostage so that Activision could reap the benefit of the completion of Modern Warfare 3.” Keep in mind, Kotick’s company isn’t hard up for cash, their ironically titled $15 MW2 “Stimulus Package” expansion pack sold 2.5 million copies in its first week of release.
The Kotick monster hasn’t stopped there, however. It seems his company just snapped up a 10-year publishing deal with Bungie, the studio behind the Halo franchise. Supposedly, “Bungie remains an independent company and will continue to own their intellectual property.” Frankly, at this point, those sound like famous last words.
As though any more evidence was needed in proving Kotick to be an utterly Shameful Human, let me conclude with some famous Kotick moments:
In responding to why Activision Blizzard chose not to publish certain games following the Activision/Blizzard merger, he stated that focusing on franchises that “have the potential to be exploited every year on every platform with clear sequel potential and have the potential to become $100 million franchises” has “worked very well for [Activision Blizzard]”.
During Activision Blizzard’s Q2 2009 financial results conference, Kotick was challenged over his “comfort level” around high prices attached to “new games that have some expensive controllers” (presumably the Guitar Hero, Tony Hawk and DJ Hero franchises), and said, “If it was left to me, I would raise the prices even further.”
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.” Kotick later stated he tries to promote an atmosphere of “skepticism, pessimism, and fear” in his company and, “We are very good at keeping people focused on the deep depression.”
Bobby Kotick is a reprehensible human being whose management style reeks of greed, short-sightedness, and total disregard for both consumers and employees. He is an undoubtedly Shameful Human, and early front-runner for the title Shameful Human of the Year.