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EA Responds To Kotick Comments, Points To Litigation, 'Hubris'
EA Responds To Kotick Comments, Points To Litigation, 'Hubris' Exclusive
September 27, 2010 | By Leigh Alexander

September 27, 2010 | By Leigh Alexander
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    15 comments
More: Console/PC, Exclusive



In a new interview with Edge Magazine, Activision CEO Bobby Kotick said the key to his company's success is respecting the independence of his studios -- and in his typically-outspoken style, the exec specifically called out publisher Electronic Arts.

In his comments, Kotick claimed EA "doesn’t know how" to implement such a model and that "great people don’t really want to work there" as a result. Excerpts from the interview are already widely circulated among games publications even before the print edition with Edge in which it features arrives on newsstands tomorrow.

But Electronic Arts won't take those assertions silently: "Kotick’s relationship with studio talent is well-documented in litigation," EA corporate communications VP Jeff Brown tells Gamasutra in a statement.

"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."

The litigation to which Brown refers is Activision's public sparring with both Double Fine and Infinity Ward. In the case of the former, Activision dropped the studio's Brutal Legend from its publishing slate amid its acquisition of Vivendi and later sued Double Fine and EA when the latter picked it up.

As for Infinity Ward, the departure of the Modern Warfare house's founders and the resulting lawsuits between the studio and Activision received quite a high profile in the press.

It's to the Call of Duty brand, whose future has been much-debated by analysts and industry-watchers in the wake of the Infinity Ward co-founders' departure, to which Brown likely refers when he discusses the Activision CEO's "hubris." The considerable revenue from the "fantastic persistent" World of Warcraft became Activision's in the Vivendi deal as well; by a franchise in "steep decline", Brown presumably refers to the considerably-contracted Guitar Hero property.

Activision and EA have quickly become bitter rivals in the public forum, a war of words that began with the conflict over Brutal Legend, escalated when Visceral Games heads Glen Schofield and Michael Condrey left EA to found Activision's Sledgehammer Games, and has come to a head as the two square off in the shooter category. EA's Medal of Honor takes on Activision's Call of Duty: Black Ops this season, and EA has been vocal about its goals to reclaim the shooter crown.

Further, Infinity Ward's Jason West and Vince Zampella's conflict with Activision culminated in the pair's new studio, Respawn Entertainment, immediately revealing a publishing contract with Electronic Arts' EA Partners division. Activision's claimed legal grounds to terminate West and Zampella pertain in part to its allegation that the pair were in secret talks EA while still employed by Activision.


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Comments


Evan Van Zelfden
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A more historical view might suggest Tony Hawk as the franchise "in steep decline," though I haven't compared the revenues to see the contrast with Guitar Hero. Lifetime sales figures would show the angles of decline, and how important that franchise was to the whole organization.

Andrew Grapsas
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Wow. Simply wow.



Let's just make games, shall we?



EA and Activison will both be judged based on the merits of their products. Gamers will vote with their wallets.

John McMahon
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I believe contrary to the better product winning, it is actually the better hyped-up product wins. So it all comes down to how much cash they push for marketing their games.

Dave Smith
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fight! fight! fight!

Robert Gill
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Rofl. I'm seriously crying right now as I type this.



I'm not going to bother retreading the usual elements of his failing as a gaming CEO (i.e. this is completely reversed), but has he even looked at what people are saying? Or at his franchises and what his employees say (Hint: Not everyone at likes working for Actvi)?



Just sayin'. Please excuse the tears that splatter my keyboard.

Dave Smith
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eh this is sort of like arguing about Republicans and Democrats. There isnt enough difference to worry about and they are both evil.

Alan Rimkeit
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+++++

Armand Kossayan
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I would argue that where as the republicans may be evil, the dems are just a bunch of yellow bellied cowards that make single celled organisms appear to have more of a backbone.

Thomas Lo
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Spoken like a true brain-dead liberal in love with spending other people's money.

Heitor Paola
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I just can't understand what goes through Mr. Kotick's mind. Is he pulling and Andy Kaufman on us, making a joke that only he knows about? Give the general perception people have of him, how can he be as bold as to make all these statements? Specially in light of how his company's main franchises are being perceived.



I've never been one to jump into the boat "Kotick is the devil". But it seems he is prone on making absolutely sure that everyone that gives a damn about video games hates him. I don't know if he's just childish of if he was drowned in power, but this has got to stop. It's not good, for anyone.

Armand Kossayan
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He's really a performance artist working on a multi-year art piece entitled "A portrayal of Ultimate Douch-ness.

Mark Venturelli
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"Kotick’s relationship with studio talent is well-documented in litigation"



Shoryuken!

Rafael Kuhnen
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"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."



K.O.

J Benjamin Hollman
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Keep it going Leigh! I want to see Kotick's reply to this, and they keep going back and forth and getting more and more personal, before it escalates into a flat-out declaration of war.



Like a real street war. With drive-by shootings and structure fires. Except all the gangsters are wearing fine Italian suits and fake smiles and yammering incomprehensibly about protecting shareholder value from The Enemy.

Louis Gascoigne
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All of this fighting must stop! When will people finally recognize that the true meaning of video games and computer entertainment can best be summarized by the phrase, "Living, loving, and learning."?



My wish is that one day ATVI and EA can fist bump each other much like Dudebro.


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