Activision CEO Bobby Kotick today went as close as possible to making a public apology for previous extraordinary claims previously made about wanting to “take all the fun out of making video games”.
In September last year the outspoken industry exec made a 45 minute speech discussing how game design can improve by instilling a “culture of thrift” and “skepticism, pessimism, and fear" into company culture.
The experienced executive has slowly made a name for himself ever since he was first appointed Activision CEO back in 1991, but all it took was a handful of quotes to propel him to mass-notoriety across the industry.
Speaking during a lively keynote address at the Dice 2010 conference, Kotick elected to explain himself for the comments he made.
He conceded that a person in a position of authority can "sometimes come across sounding like a dick", explaining that he’d been trying to convince institutional investors – generally burdened by the prejudice of the games industry as being impossibly failure-prone and risky – that companies like Activision understood the importance of process and, in fact, have a better record of success than other entertainment businesses.
Clearly though, the furore over the remark had caused him discomfort. He’d begun the speech saying, "All my life I was the rebel flying the Millenium Falcon, and then suddenly I wake up and find myself on board the Death Star."
The main thrust of his speech was that he does, in fact, have a great deal of respect for the development community.
"I’ve realised in the last 20 years that you have to empower people, to give them he responsibility and the resources to do what they love. Because those are the people who really know what they are doing."
Said Kotick: “I count myself incredibly fortunate to be in a business where I am passionate about the people, the products and the technology, which also happens to be a great business opportunity."
He added that Activsion had learned "after 15 acquisitions, how to acquire companies and then protect their cultures and their independence and their talent. He admitted that’s not always the easiest thing to do, before pointing out that most of Activision’s acquired studios are run by their founders.