Activision boss Bobby Kotick is always good for a crazy quote or two that shows just how in touch he is with the real world. When he’s not predicting gaming domination over other media or claiming that gamers just love sequels, he’s sucking the fun out of making videogames. During a presentation at the Deutsche Bank Securities Technology Conference in San Francisco, Kotick discussed the changes he has made at the company that have turned Activision into the soulless game making factory it is today.
Kotick said, “You have studio heads who five years ago didn’t know the difference between a balance sheet and a bed sheet who are now arguing allocations in our CFO’s office pretty regularly. We have a real culture of thrift. 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 videogames.” Kotick did this by creating an employee incentive program that “really rewards profit and nothing else.” He continued his dictatorial rant saying he wanted to instill “skepticism, pessimism, and fear” in his company as motivation for making games in the midst of a recession. “We are very good at keeping people focused on the deep depression.”
These words of fun sucking and fear mongering are what shareholders love to hear, but for us gamers, it’s unsettling to hear fear, pessimism and skepticism as motivators for producing games. For Kotick, making videogames isn’t about having fun. It’s about adding to his $15 million earnings.