Outspoken Activision CEO Bobby Kotick was recently the subject of an extensive profile by The New York Times which charted his rise as the head of one of the most prolific publishers in the industry. As part of the interview, Kotick said the decision to fire Infinity Ward co-founders Jason West and Vince Zampella after they were planning to switch publishers in breach of contract was an easy one.
Activision’s head honch Bobby Kotick has questioned whether Star Wars: The Old Republic will make enough money to keep going. Speaking to Reuters, Kotick - whose World of Warcraft is massive - said: "If you look at the history of the people investing in an MMO and achieving success, it's a small number."
Kotick also has doubts about how EA are going to pay George Lucas the massive licensing fees for the Star Wars uber-franchise. "Lucas is going to be the principal beneficiary of the success of Star Wars," Kotick said. "We've been in business with Lucas for a long time and the economics will always accrue to the benefit of Lucas, so I don't really understand how the economics work for Electronic Arts."
Analysts are predicting that The Old Republic could pull 3 to 4 million World of Warcraft subscribers into the Star Wars universe, so Kotick is understandably looking for holes in the game. But publishers EA and developers BioWare are going to have to ensure there’s enough new content to keep players interested once they’re over the initial peak. Apparently EA needs at least 500,000 subscribers to make TOR profitable - we doubt they’re going to have many problems reaching that number.
Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision, told Edge that "The core principle of how we run the company is the exact opposite of EA. 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 a developer is that they have a culture, they have an independent vision and that’s what makes them so successful." EA returned fire at Activision in an interview with CVG yesterday, when a spokesperson attacked the publishing giant's "His company is based on three game franchises - one is a fantastic persistent world he had nothing to do with; one is in steep decline; and the third is in the process of being destroyed by Kotick's own hubris."
When the Wall Street Journal asked Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision, what he'd do for his company if he had a magical genie-type wish, he said, "I would have Call of Duty be an online subscription service tomorrow."
Interesting choice of words! Kotick clearly has the best interests of the board of investors at heart. He didn't say 'I'd make a Call of Duty MMO,' which would probably be great, but essentially 'I'd like infinity dollars please.' He turns it around pretty quickly, jumping right into how he thinks it would please consumers: "I think our audiences are clamoring for it. If you look at what they're playing on Xbox Live today, we've had 1.7 billion hours of multiplayer play on Live. I think we could do a lot more to really satisfy the interests of the customers." Yeah, like charging them for each of those hours. Think of the money! Uh, customer satisfaction!
[Wall Street Journal via The Escapist]