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Activision CEO on Plans to 'Take All the Fun Out of Making Video Games,' Go Beyond Consoles

Occassionally villified Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick has made another revelation bound to spark some interesting conversation, admitting that "the goal that I had [at Activision]...about 10 years ago was to take all the fun out of making video games."

The comment came during a Deutsche Bank Securities Technology Conference attended by GameSpot, during which Kotick spoke rather frankly regarding the company's culture, future and focus on profit.

The head of Activision Blizzard--one of, if not the, largest game publishers, known for such hits as Guitar Hero, Call of Duty and World of Warcraft--noted that the company's incentive program "really rewards profit and nothing else," adding that "skepticism, pessimism, and fear" are used to keep employees "focused on the deep depression."

Describing the company's attitude as "a real culture of thrift," Kotick explained that "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."

As for Activision's future, the CEO said to "expect many of our products to be playable independent of a console," with GameSpot's writeup explaining:

[Kotick said] he'd been impressed with media hub functionalities shown by 1080p TVs that let users stream content from their PCs. He also suggested a day in not-too-distant future where players' Facebook profiles will be integrated into Guitar Hero, letting them make songs to share with friends, post high scores or favorite songs on their profile page, and so on.

"I think what the untethered Guitar Hero does is equal the playing field a little more and give you some leverage with first parties when it comes to downloadable content and the business model," Kotick added.

However, that doesn't mean Activision is planning to abandon the lucrative console software market. Addressing criticisms that unrealistic facial animations, such as those in Treyarch's Call of Duty: World at War, destroy a player's immersion, he unveiled some new technology meant to render mouth movements in real-time.

Said technology won't be ready until the next generation of games, though Kotick hopes it will transform the medium and be ready before the next generation of consoles.

And as for when the next generation of consoles will arrive, the Activision executive was uncertain, only noting that the company usually hears about new hardware about two years in advance and has thus far heard nothing from Sony, Microsoft or Nintendo.

Chris Faylor was previously a games journalist creating content at Shacknews.

From The Chatty
  • DM7 legacy 10 years
    September 15, 2009 10:03 AM

    Hard to believe that douchebag oversees Blizzard.

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      September 15, 2009 10:11 AM

      I think Blizzard just uses Vivendi as a publisher. In various interviews Blizzard has stated that they are largely autonomous from the rest of the company.

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        September 15, 2009 10:19 AM

        They're still fully owned though. At the end of the day they're only as autonomous as Kotick & Co. decide they are.

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          September 15, 2009 10:20 AM

          ^ This. They are autonomous right now, but that could change tomorrow.

        • DM7 legacy 10 years
          September 15, 2009 10:23 AM

          Hopefully they keep their hands-off approach when it comes to Blizzard and the way they make their games. But will previous successes be enough to keep Activision's hands off? Who knows. : /

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            September 15, 2009 12:17 PM

            Publishers rarely keep their hands off of devs they purchase for long. I doubt even Blizzard will be an exception. Sure Blizzard makes huge AAA games that hoards will buy on day one, but they're probably thinking "you know, if they implimented some of our ideas we might see 20% more profit, besides, we own them so we can tell them where to shove it."

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      September 15, 2009 12:14 PM

      Why the fuck did Blizzard ever sell anyway. I mean fuck Number 1 game after game surely the didn't need the fucking money. Man if they fuck up Blizzard I will be smoldering with generic rage.

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        September 15, 2009 12:24 PM

        Blizzard was owned, previously, by Vivendi, so it wasn't actually Blizzard's call.

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          September 15, 2009 1:06 PM

          I wonder if Blizzard could pull a Bungie and secede

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      September 15, 2009 3:01 PM

      Really? I think they're a fairly typical match. Nothing I've ever seen from blizzard has ever demonstrated to me that the higher-ups in that company care about their games much more than Bobby Kotick does about his properties. I mean I like Blizzard games and all, but especially nowadays they do tend to have a really detached relationship with the games they create. From their very conception they always feel like very conservative games that are coldly calculated to have the greatest amount of polish, which is fine, that process can produce good games, but it's unsurprising to me they've coupled themselves with a blood-sucking lamprey like Kotick.

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        September 15, 2009 3:47 PM

        Blizzard supports their titles for years after they are released. Patches, bug fixes, free content patches. Hell they coming out with a free content patch for Diablo fucking 2. That's pretty much against anything Activision stands for.

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      September 15, 2009 3:48 PM

      Blizzard still takes their sweeeeet time developing every title they release. As long as they do that, they're still Blizzard in my book.

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