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Kotick: "This is a team business"

Activision Blizzard CEO plays up company support; takes a swipe at 'selling out' to EA

The process of making videogames is a "team business" at Activision Blizzard, according to CEO Bobby Kotick, who was speaking during this year's DICE Summit in Las Vegas.

Delivering a general discussion reminiscing on why he wanted to become involved with the Activision business in the first place, he explained his love of playing games - but underlined while he's not involved in the process of creation today, there's a good reason for that.

"The nature of my personality is such that if I were to play Modern Warfare 2 I wouldn't be able to stop, and it would be at the expense of my regular responsibilities," he said, before going on to look back at some of the publisher's hits and misses.

Specifically he noted Maxis as one company Activision failed to buy, because it didn't understand the opportunity at the creative level. Designer Will Wright wasn't able to fully explain the project he was working on at the time, codenamed Jefferson – later to become The Sims – so Activision focused purely on Sim City 2000 and declined to make the acquisition.

He also talked about some of the Activision execs that had needed to leave the company in order to fulfil their creative desires, specifically forming the Jamdat and Pandemic businesses, both of which were later acquired by Electronic Arts.

In a wry swipe at the publisher's biggest rival, he hinted at the differences between Activision and EA in relation to the respect shown to a studio's culture and creativity: "If you have a company and you want to retain your identity and you want to get the support of the mothership, we're a really great mothership. If you want to sell out your values, there are other companies you can sell to," he joked.

He also talked about his famous quote to investors about "taking the fun our of making games" and tried to explain the reasoning behind it.

"It was mainly because I wanted to come across in a humorous way that we were responsible in the business... that it wasn't a Wild West," he said. Referring specifically to crunch times that were the least fun points of the game creation process, he stressed: "That's really not what I meant by that."

He finished the session by announcing a new game creation competition, to the tune of $500,000, which would reward strong ideas dedicated to new platforms, including iPhone and Facebook.

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Latest comments (1)

Alex Jones Editor-in-Chief, Pixel Fist12 years ago
"If you have a company and you want to retain your identity and you want to get the support of the mothership, we're a really great mothership. If you want to sell out your values, there are other companies you can sell to,"

The recent Infinity Ward fiasco leaves me begging to differ.
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