In an intimate interview with Eurogamer, Double Fine Productions’ Tim Schafer talks what he loves, like the film Casablanca and the first time he played Super Mario 64. But he also talks about some of the things he hates, managing to call Activision’s CEO Bobby Kotick ‘a total prick’ and a ‘dick.’
Kotick is often portrayed as an all-business ‘money man’ who doesn’t play or understand games, infamous for saying that he wants to ‘take all the fun out of making videogames.’ When asked if it’s fair to criticize Kotick for focusing on making Activision profitable, Shafer bluntly replied: “Well, he doesn’t have to be as much of a dick about it, does he? I think there is a way he can do it without being a total prick. It seems like it would be possible. It’s not something he’s interested in.”
Above: Tim Schafer, a game designer everyone loves (left). Bobby Kotick, a CEO everyone loves to hate (right)
“Well, he makes a big deal about not liking games, and I just don't think that attitude is good for games in general. I don't think we're an industry of widgets. I don't think we can approach it like we approach bars of soap, where you're just trying to make the cheapest bar of soap. He definitely has that that kind of widget-maker attitude. I don't think he's great for the industry, overall. You can't just latch onto something when it's popular and then squeeze the life out of it and then move on to the next one. You have to at some point create something, build something,” reasons Shafer.
“He could go to an industry that makes more money,” continues Shafer. “Ball bearings... Something that suits his passions more. Weapons manufacturing?”
Maybe Shafer is right. Speaking at the Deutsche Bank Securities Technology Conference in San Francisco in 2009, Kotick talked up changes he had made to Activision’s employee incentive program, saying that “it really rewards profit and nothing else.” According to Kotick employees should be aware of “skepticism, pessimism, and fear,” adding that “We are very good at keeping people focused on the deep depression.” Sounds like a horrible guy to work for in an industry that thrives on fun and creativity.
July 14, 2010
Source: Eurogamer, Industry Gamers, CVG
UPDATE: Activision responds to the Shafer slam
Activision has responded to Tim Shafer’s slam against Activision’s Bobby Kotick in the recent Eurogamer interview. Speaking to Kotaku, Maryanne Lataif, senior vice president of corporate communications at Activision Blizzard, says “Tim Shafer’s comment that Bobby Kotick ‘makes a big deal about not liking games’ just isn’t true. Bobby has always been passionate about games, and loves the video game industry. But as CEO of a company that makes games enjoyed by millions of people worldwide, the demands on his time now make it difficult to play games as often as he’d like to or as much as he once did.”