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Shameful Human of the Week: Bobby Kotick

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.

Shameful Human of the Week: Michael Pachter

April 22, 2010 Shameful Human 1 Comment

This week’s Shameful Human is Wedbush Morgan Securities’ gaming research analyst Michael Pachter.

Pach-Attack provides a seemingly endless supply of absurd, astounding, and generally amusing predictions for the sales-obsessed forum-dwelling gamers of the world to mull and fight over. His infamy has grown to such levels that he now has a weekly show over at GameTrailers.com dedicated to spewing his raucous, Nostradamian opinions.

Pach’s in trouble with the watchdogs here at Shufflingdead this week for claiming that the DSi XL would not sell well, then backpedaling with intensity after being confronted with the system’s 141 000 first-month US sales. Pachter claimed “I suppose that the audience for the DSi XL consists largely of people who don’t read IndustryGamers.” His argument being, it would seem, that only those ignorant of the impending 3DS launch would be interested in the system. Maybe Mike doesn’t recognize the value in a pair of 93% larger screens.

Pachter followed up that attack by issuing an official opinion on Netflix for Wii. He feels that due to the lack of HD content, the “limited number of Wii users connected to the Internet,” and, get this, his suspicion that many Wiis are “relegated to the playroom or (heaven forbid) the closet,” Netflix will not do as well on Wii as 360 and PS3. Pachter didn’t bother to do a survey to see how many Wiis are stored in “playrooms” and closets, he just made that up based on the system’s lower attach rate. He should have considered factoring in the number of quality 3rd party titles available for Wii worthy of purchase.

Sources: GoNintendo, GoNintendo

Shameful Human(s) of the Week: Korean Pro StarCraft Players

News has now surfaced that match-fixing has been running rampant in Korea’s pro StarCraft circuit in coordination with illegal gambling. Retired players and coaches have been working to connect pros with gambling rings, with the pros rigging their matches and leaking their replays.

This week’s Shameful Human(s) is/are none other than the pros of Korean StarCraft themselves, some of whom have reportedly been shamed into retiring over the ordeal. Korean law prevents the names of criminals from being released, but the scandal is rumoured to including top players like “sAviOr,” a.k.a. Ja Mae Yoon, pictured to the right.

If you have any doubts about how big a deal this might be in Korea, Google Image search “savior,” the SC player’s image turns up first, ahead of Jesus.

It is a sad day indeed when a nation must face the cold reality that its heroes are human. This event recalls other great sports scandals like Ben Johnson’s doping and Mark McGwire’s steroid consumption.


Shameful Human of the Week: James Mielke

This week’s Shameful Human is James Mielke, long time games journalist and current producer at Q Entertainment. Mielke joins a now massive list of games industry personnel to be named Shameful Human specifically for insane, anti-Nintendo hate.

When news broke of the Nintendo 3DS last week, Mielke immediately took to Twitter to not only register his disgust with it, a product he had not seen and knew almost nothing about, but to whine incessantly about Nintendo’s overall business strategy. I’ve compiled the offending Tweets below.

Reflect on the mighty rant that follows for a moment, and then consider that this man is representing a prominent 3rd party developer in the handheld space. I find it especially amusing that Mielke works for a company which has subsisted largely on making and remaking the same two puzzle games (Lumines and Meteos) for the last six years, and yet criticizes Nintendo’s reuse of its most successful franchises.

This is precisely the kind of radical anti-Nintendo bias that exists in the industry today. Congratulations James Mielke, you are an obvious hater, fanboy, troll, and Shameful human.

… Continue Reading

Shameful Human of the Week: Randy Neugebauer

This week’s Shameful Human is Randy Neugebauer, the Republican Representative from Texas who shouted out “baby killer” during last night’s debate over health care reform in the US Congress. Mr. Neugebauer has since claimed that he was referring to the health care bill under debate, rather than his presumed target Bart Stupak, a Democrat who had initially opposed the bill because, he claimed, it would allow abortions to be federally subsidized, but ultimately voted for it anyway.

Neugebauer is a convenient stand-in for the sheer and utter lunacy that is American political discourse today. Is it even worth mentioning that the bill in question did not provide federal subsidization of abortion? Of course not, reality itself has been rendered irrelevant by the American right, and insane knee-jerk reactions that confuse and inspire anger in the electorate are all that matter.

Yesterday saw the United States Congress pass a law which would moderately reform their country’s broken health care system by requiring citizens to buy health insurance from already wildly profitable corporations, and it still felt a bit too much like “socialism” for Republicans like Neugebauer to vote for it. Now his party has transformed their website into a hellscape of rage, ten states with Republican attorney generals are readying to file a lawsuit challenging the legislation, and the unofficial voice of the GOP is claiming the entire country is on the brink.

This is the unreality in which Americans live, and bloated Mr. Potato Head stand-ins like Randy Neugebauer are the cause of it.


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