In an interview with the Financial Times, Activision CEO Bobby Kotick has been outlining the firm’s approach to studio acquisitions – and has defended independent developers, saying they have been ‘falsely accused of lacking discipline’.
Last week we revealed that the company is keen to expand and strengthen its development resource, following on from the acquisition of leading independent racing game specialist Bizarre Creations, its first European team.
In the FT, Kotick elaborated further on this, saying that the company follows ‘strict criteria’ when it comes to growing its empire – it has acquired 12 companies in the past five years.
He explained: “You want profitability, some proprietary development capability that is proven and successful, you want them to have a history of multi-million unit sellers, you want good management and you want it to be non-dilutive financially." He added: “The few times that we haven’t stuck to that criteria, we’ve made mistakes.”
Independent studios, however, are not the rag-tag bunch others would portray them as, he added: “We pick our studios carefully and allow an independent culture. I find them deadline-focused, milestone-driven, incredibly responsible and sensitive to the needs of the audiences.”
In the profile, Kotick also reiterates Activision’s long-held goal to outstrip rival Electronic Arts, although he conceeded that his company had some way to go to outnumber EA’s vast development capability and global oomph.
“When we acquired [Activision], I always felt the opportunity was to become the number-one company in the category,” he said. “That aspiration hasn’t changed.”