Above: Welcome aboard the USS Double Facepalm!
One interview with Activision's Bobby Kotick is like a twenty-car pileup on the freeway. This is the third story we've written today about his much-discussed chat with EDGE, but this time it's not just about Kotick's flapping jaw - EA has fired back against remarks that it fails to respect the independence of its studios.
"The core principle of how we run the company is the exact opposite of EA," said Kotick. "EA will buy a developer and then it will become ‘EA Florida’, ‘EA Vancouver’, ‘EA New Jersey’, whatever. We always looked and said, 'You know what? What we like about a developer is that they have a culture, they have an independent vision and that’s what makes them so successful.' We don’t have an Activision anything - it’s Treyarch, Infinity Ward, Sledgehammer."
That gets one facepalm. There may be some truth in there, but publically accusing former executives of criminal activity doesn't really help his case. It also doesn't help that the Infinity Ward founders' new studio, Respawn, remains independent with its EA deal. Of course, Infinity Ward was just an exception, and Kotick doesn't stop there with the EA bashing:
"[EA’s] DNA isn’t oriented towards that model - it doesn’t know how to do it, as a culture or as a company, and it never has... Look, EA has a lot of resources, it’s a big company that’s been in business for a long time, maybe it’ll figure it out eventually. But it’s been struggling for a really long time. The most difficult challenge it faces today is: great people don’t really want to work there."
Them's fightin' words! And to the benefit of all of our amusement, EA is up for a fight. Corporate Communications VP Jeff Brown told Gamasutra, "Kotick’s relationship with studio talent is well-documented in litigation... His company is based on three game franchises – one is a fantastic persistent world he had nothing to do with; one is in steep decline; and the third is in the process of being destroyed by Kotick’s own hubris."
Above: This 'aint a TV show on USA, it's notice that YOU JUST GOT BURNED!
The "fantastic persistent world" referred to is World of Warcraft, the franchise in "steep decline" is presumably Guitar Hero, and the franchise being "destroyed" may be Call of Duty, which EA's Medal of Honor is positioned directly against. The cases of litigation referred to (Infinity Ward and Double Fine) also involve EA's competition with Activision, so it's not as if EA is neutral in this ongoing spat.
But still, we can't smirk harder. EA has every reason to keep Kotick's mouth a-movin' - he's done a great job stealing away its Evil Giant image. EA may not be David, but Activision is sure looking like Goliath.
No word on whether or not anyone has been stuffed into a locker, or if there will be a showdown later at the bike racks.
[Sources: Gamasutra, EDGE]
Sep 27, 2010