Activision: EA has lost its way

Outspoken Activision publishing boss Bobby Kotick has in an interview with Edge magazine launched a scathing assault on rival EA, blasting the way it treats owned developers and claiming that no-one actually wants to work for the company.

The core principle of how we run the company is the exact opposite of EA,” Kotick explained. 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 the 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, to me, is one of the unassailable rules of building a publishing company. And in every case except for two, the original founders of the studios are still running the studios today.

And referencing his early days in games development where he briefly worked for EA, Kotick continued: I’ve been an oppressed EA developer! The thing is, it doesn’t work that way – that doesn’t work. EA’s DNA isn’t orientated towards that model – it doesn’t know how to do it, as a culture or as a company, and it never has.

As well as his attack on EA’s developer relationships, Kotick also had some choice words about the fundamentals workings of the company.

EA has a lot of resources, it’s a big company that’s been in the business for a long time – maybe it’ll figure it out eventually,” he continued. But its been struggling for a long time.

The most difficult challenge it faces today is: great people don’t really want to work there. It’s like, if you have no other options you might consider them. They have some – the team that makes Madden is a really great team, it’s been able to manage, capture and keep some good people. But we have no shortage of opportunity to recruit out of EA – that’s their biggest challenge.

Its stock options have no value, its lost its way. And until it has success and hits, and gets it enthusiasm back for the company, its going to have a struggle getting really talented people which is going to translate into less than great games.”

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