During these times, solidarity is the only way forward. Kotick does not embody anything close to this.
The ongoing saga of Bobby Kotick and his misguided leadership of Activision Blizzard appears to be coming to a head. For those of you unfamiliar, the organisation has had staff speak of poor working conditions including unwanted touching, demeaning comments, unsolicited comments on their appearance and more. If that isn’t enough even the man himself has questionable actions reported against him as well as being in Jeffrey Epstein’s black book.
In a report published by the Wall Street Journal he has commented that he will “consider” quitting Activision if can’t “fix” the company’s culture. Whilst this seems like somewhat of an empty gesture given that people’s lives have been ruined under this man’s watchful eye, a Kotick-less Activision will not only improve the lives of the hundreds of people who work there but also has the potential to improve the industry worldwide.
Since Kotick took over as CEO and due to Activision’s sheer size, they have been able to dictate what the AAA video game looks like. Instead of innovating what video games can be they decided to stick with what works. Due to oversaturating the market with Guitar Hero games (7 titles in 1 year!). Other similar games like Rock Band died a quiet dark death and weren’t seen for quite some time afterward, and when they did come back people weren’t not as enthused as the first-time round.
This oversaturation method is not just an anomaly for rhythm games, it is almost formulaic for Activision at this point. Tony Hawk Pro Skater, Skylanders and now even Call of Duty are victims to this. Year over year sales of the record-breaking shooter franchise seem to be on the decline because of this “riding the wave” trend at Activision. Multiple studios have been acquired, had the life ripped out of them and become Call of Duty support studios to help them get that easy money.
Activision Blizzard are one of the biggest video game developers in the world. They need to have the right management to bring this medium forward in more ways than one. Treating your staff right will mean more creativity, more creativity will lead to better games and that is what will help bring video games forward. Underappreciated and abused staff making Call of Duty every year is not good enough anymore.