Activision Decapitates Infinity Ward?

By Kieron Gillen on March 2nd, 2010 at 3:28 pm.

Our artist's impression.

This is, I suspect, only the start of a story which is going to grow and grow. G4 broke the rumour yesterday that “a bunch of bouncer types” had showed up at Infinity Ward, following the Infinity Ward heads Vince Zampella and Jason West’s reported meeting with Activision in the morning – which they hadn’t returned from. Kotaku picked up that Jason West’s facebook account claimed to be drinking and no-longer employed. G4 uncovers that morning Activision had an SEC filing stating investigation into “breaches of contract and insubordination by two senior employees at Infinity Ward.” And now VG247 are reporting rumours that unpaid royalties to Infinity Ward was part of the cause of stress. Oh – and Tim Schafer says the best one liner about the whole thing.

Really, all we’ve got right now is theories. Though, like Rock8man at Qt3, Bobby Kotick’s hailing of “skepticism, pessimism, and fear” does tend to leap worryingly easily to mind.

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184 Comments »

  1. jsutcliffe says:

    I want to know what these breaches of contract and acts of insubordination were. Give me the juicy details, KG!

  2. Davee says:

    Interesting. I’ll keep an eye on this for sure.

    Awesome one-liner by the way :)

  3. westyfield says:

    I scrolled down to see the comments, right below the post was the ‘recent articles’ with the phrase “Absolute Power Corrupts”.

    Made my day!

  4. Flameberge says:

    Predictably, Tim Schafer sums up this whole mess quite well.

    Certainly be interesting to see how this turns out…

    Remember when we thought EA were evil for releasing a new sports game every year with no change aside the number at the end? My oh my, how times have changed,

    • Jad says:

      Twitter is blocked at work … could someone copy and paste Tim’s response here?

      And for EA: yeah, a lot of the hate for EA seemed tied to their annual sports game release schedule, which always seemed odd considering how many “hardcore” gamers don’t like sports games. And having so little change between versions seems like a simple way to save money: just stick with the game you’ve got until a couple of years pass.

      Activision (and now Ubisoft) seems to to be doing more to screw “hardcore” gamers: messing up interesting and unique titles with DRM, killing off franchises with shoddy quick sequels, failing to make any new IP, removing dedicated servers, moving away from PC development, and monetizing everything (although everybody’s doing that nowadays).

      I wish we could go back to the days where a new version of Madden each year and having to enter a CD key to install were the big problems of the day.

    • TimA says:

      @Jad: “Getting mad at Activision for this kind of thing is like getting mad at an ape for throwing feces. It’s just how the beast communicates.”

    • Jad says:

      Thanks TimA. That’s hilarious. I wish even more now that Brutal Legend came out on PC. I love that man.

      He does have a good point. Activision is a business, and everything it does it does because it thinks that its good business sense. Which, for the time being, has been correct. I do hope that in time Acti is proven wrong, that gamers show that they don’t like getting screwed over and fed the same games over and over again, but I’m not holding my breath.

    • plugmonkey says:

      Re: messing up interesting and unique titles with DRM, killing off franchises with shoddy quick sequels, failing to make any new IP

      That was pretty much EA modus operandi during the period where they completely lost their fanbase…

    • Wulf says:

      The problem here is that we need to hate Acti for this, and to an extent, Schafer is wrong. It’s only via our hate, our ire, and our dismissal of their very existence will they re-evaluate their business practises and realise that they’re not showing good acumen. Every time people get really annoyed and kick up a fuss, things usually happen, at least providing people stand by their guns. I can already see Modern Warfare 3 getting 0/0.1/1 scores on sites like Amazon and Metacritic.

      Because unless we do hate them, unless we choose to ignore the vile creature — ignore them by way of our wallets — they won’t learn, and we’ll be to blame. Right now, I have this picture in my head and it won’t go away. Someone needs to do a comic of it. Because unless gamers take a stand on things like this, it only results in an abused-hooker/hooker-abuser scenario. The gamer is the cheap two-dollar hooker on the corner, Acti is the balding fatcat with a tiny bit of money, and he’s going to take you, use you, abuse you, and spit you out, and you’re really not going to get much in return.

      Problem here? Just buying their latest game and not showing them your ire is just saying “Hey, that’s fine! Use me and abuse me, then toss me away when I’m no longer good for it! That’s what I’m here for, amirite??”. And is that what anyone wants to be saying to any company?

      The power is in the hands of the consumer, use it, or suffer the consequences. But don’t be a bloody apathetic fence-sitter. Either you support this nonsense, or you don’t.

    • RedFred says:

      @Wulf: Very well said. It’s just rough that the big publishers also have some of the best developers.

  5. bleeters says:

    Coming soon: Activision/Blizzard reveal development of weather control satelite from orbital moon-base.

    • Blackberries says:

      This. Complete with moustache-twirling and cackling.

      (And thank you, Bleeters. You almost got a spit-take out of me).

  6. terry says:

    I am so glad I have a day off to watch the inevitable shitstorm…

    *brews nice cuppa*

    • Flameberge says:

      Ha! I’m not, I’m supposed to be doing university work. I have three statutes and a textbook in front of me, and yet somehow, the storm that is starting to break seems far, far more interesting!

    • Jeremy says:

      Not going to lie, needles being inserted into my eye sounds more exciting than 3 statutes and a textbook.

    • Flameberge says:

      @ Jeremy

      Yeah, I might try that tomorrow to alleviate boredom actually. Providing that Activision take a break from their Evil-Genius esque plans which provide a measure of entertainment in my otherwise dreary statute-and-law-report based existence.

    • Lambchops says:

      As far as uni work goes any distraction works! I for instance am about to distract myself by making a nice cup of tea. Mmm . . . tea.

    • DMJ says:

      @Lambchop: I have ginger biscuits. I think I’ll make some tea too.

    • Wulf says:

      Some choc-chip cookies and a glass of fruit juice, here.

      This is all very entertaining, isn’t it? And this is just the sort of schadenfreude that even I can enjoy.

    • Blackberries says:

      I also managed to kill a good 45 minutes at the library following this instead of getting down and dirty with uni work. Stupid Activision and their surreal evilness.

  7. jsutcliffe says:

    @westyfield

    In a similar vein, I have an e-mail from GoG.com in my inbox with the subject line “Activision frenzy continues.” It makes me chuckle.

    • Wulf says:

      I got a good laugh out of that, too. I can only hope that their next mail is quite so mirth-inducing.

  8. halfthought says:

    “The mood around the Infinity Ward offices is currently described as “freaked out” and “confused.”

    Mission Accomplished Bobby Koctik! Good job.

    • Wulf says:

      If he really did have a tick on his winky… well, that would explain a lot, wouldn’t it?

      Maybe ticks for winkies are standard issue for corporate types, so they can be uncomfortable and irate all day long!

      I could go to so many other places with this, but I won’t, I’ll leave the implications up to the reader’s imagination.

      Does explain a lot, though.

  9. Mike says:

    Remember: No Humanity.

    • undead dolphin hacker says:

      In the dark future, there is only war.

    • user@example.com says:

      There is no peace amongst the devs, only an eternity of carnage and slaughter, and the laughter of thirsting Kotick.

  10. Sagan says:

    Either Infinity Ward really messed up, or Activision is really stupid. They have been ruining their franchises for years (Tony Hawk, Guitar Hero) but so far they have been smart about turning Call of Duty into a money-printing-device. If they now manage to mess this up, too, then Bobby Kotick should lose his job. OK they still have Blizzard, and so far the guy has smartly kept his hands out of there, so the company won’t be entirely ruined if this turns in fact out to be serious for Infinity Ward. But Call of Duty was 1/4th of their revenue last year. You don’t mess with a company that gives you over 1 billion in revenue with only 100 employees.

    So either Infinity Ward really messed up, or Activision is really stupid.

    • JB says:

      Possible and probable, respectively.

    • Starky says:

      Thankfully Bobby can’t touch Blizzard and has no say what-so-ever in the running of Blizzard.

      They are separate companies trading under the same holding company is all.
      Both have their own CEO and run independently – the only thing they have in common is they are both owned by Vivendi.

  11. tapanister says:

    I’ve followed this story on a lot of sites/blogs, but this one uses the best possible picture to describe the situation. Kotaku was 2nd, with a pic of Vader force-choking an imperial officer.

  12. Rinox says:

    Meh, it’s IW. Their PC betrayal made their crappy console shooters the last thing I’ll leave any sleep for. Karma, b*tches.

    Let’s hear some more of how awesome Valve instead!

    • rocketman71 says:

      This

    • redrain85 says:

      1000x this. IW sold out for money, and now they’re reaping their “just rewards”. :)

    • AndrewC says:

      They came for the crappy console shooters, and I did not speak out – for I was a prissy pc gamer.

    • Cael says:

      Signed.

    • RedFred says:

      Should we really be raving about Valve?

      They used to be published by Vivendi which now owns Activision-Blizzard and now they are being distributed by EA.

    • Frosty says:

      @ Rinox

      Crappy console port is harsh. They certainly did kick us in the balls and the game’s were not as spectacular as hyped, but they were in no way crap.

      We should mourn the loss of Infinity Ward because with a less restrictive publisher they could have made something spectacular again.

    • Adventurous Putty says:

      I rather liked COD 4 (although MW2 was utter trash). They had a lot of talent and still do, so I think this is at best premature and at worst snotty and elitist.

    • Rinox says:

      Ok, I suppose “crappy” was a bit of a hyperbole, but you can see where I’m coming from right? The recent PC-hate debacle really made me scratch IW off of my list of “people I want to give my money to”, but the series itself has long gone astray when held up against the norm for shooters in the tradition of the PC. I don’t know about you guys, but when I play games like MW2 on the PC I can’t help but notice it’s a port. The scripted action, the extended cutscenes, the shooting gallery scenes…they may not be bad as such but, for all their spectacularness, they’ve long been surpassed in the (good) PC shooter genre where minimal scripting, improved AI and free roaming have been the code words for years.

      That, and the dedicated servers thing, give me little regard for IW and make me hope they explode in a fiery blast and their best employees are annexed by a company that does respect the PC.

  13. cyrenic says:

    I’m happy for Activision to shoot themselves in the foot here. I don’t know a lot about Infinity Ward, but if these two guys were worth anything they’ll probably go found some startup development team somewhere and make something far more interesting than they could have under Activision.

    • krepno says:

      I think they made Medal of honor at EA before they left because of some “principal conflict”. That is the main devvers. Lets just hope they do the same here and start another good franchise (and let another big company fuck it up….)

  14. Gorgeras says:

    I now have an excuse to go out and buy whiskey. It’s the only way to make sense of anything.

    • Sobric says:

      @ Dante

      I like the replies on that site, especially the guy worried over the release of MW3 (lol?) and another claiming that Zampella didn’t do anything anyway (bigger lol?)

  15. terry says:

    My guess – IW were forced to use IW.net for MW2 because Activision are itching to run an eventual Steam-like service with total control over modding, servers etc and IW.net was an attempt to float the idea. IW subseqently work on developing the dedicated server side of things in a patch. This attitude doesn’t fit with Activision’s idiotic totalitarian business plan, pointy heads get exasperated, rail lines of coke, threaten, standoff ensues. Sanity does not evidently prevail.

    • Flameberge says:

      I think my suggestion from the “Weirdness at IW” thread was more plausible:

      “iI’s all a big misunderstanding. I bet those so-called “gruff bouncer-types” where actually bearing precious gifts and cuddly toys for the Infnity Ward devs, you know, to say “well done for making us so much money that we now live in palaces made out of platinum, bathe in liquified myrrh every morning, and then towel ourselves off with towels made of gold leaf”. Probably someone tried to name one of the teddy bears “the baby jesus”, and then it all got out of hand, so West is now in Activision’s dungeon for rejecting their gifts and blaspheming, waiting to be stoned.

      Or Something.”

  16. Senethro says:

    While I’m less inclined to be sympathetic towards IW for the differences between Cod4 and MW2, I do wonder to what extent activision is behind everything. Did ATVI demand there be no dedicated servers? Was the PC version of MW2 ever really in doubt due to pressure from ATVI?

  17. St4ud3 says:

    So MW2 was the last decent CoD game?

    • Demon Beaver says:

      I would say MW1 was the last decent CoD game… but that’s just my opinion.

    • Kadayi says:

      @Demon Beaver

      No I’ll second that opinion. MW2 was a big pile of Tom Clancy reject pants.

  18. jon_hill987 says:

    Is there any truth in the rumour that they will be shutting down IW.net as a result of this? I want to laugh at all the people that said MW2 didn’t need dedicated servers.

    • Sobric says:

      They’ve fired some head honchos, not liquidated the entire company, so I doubt IW.net will go down.

    • sebmojo says:

      No, that’s just a forum post that Tei quoted. Doesn’t make any sense, anyway.

  19. cliffski says:

    Tip:
    buy shares in the company infinity wards top guys go and start now.
    These guys were kicked off the medal of honor team as I recall, and went on to crush that franchsie by just doing it better. Maybe thats just my fuzzy memory?
    On another note, its depressing to see that its not just indies, but everyone who gets fucked over regarding unpaid royalties. Publishers truly are scum. the sooner we can cut them out entirely the better.
    bah!

    • Flameberge says:

      I say we should proclaim you as a gaming prophet.

    • Alex Bakke says:

      I’ve never bought shares before, perhaps this will be my money-maker.

    • Sucram says:

      @cliffski or am I meant to buy shares in their next publisher? Assuming that as developers they’ll get paid anything for their success is obviously madness.

    • Radiant says:

      THIS.
      They jumped ship from an evil empire to form IW.
      I get the feeling they are becoming past masters at the old “fuck you I’m out!” school of creating something greater and better.
      I just want to see what these guys come up with next.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      Cliffski: I believe they left rather than were kicked off. I’d love the full story of that particular one to come out, as the bits I heard were awesome.

      KG

    • Alex Bakke says:

      I’m guessing that it’s one of those ‘You’re sacked!’ “You can’t sack me, I quit!” ‘But I just fired you!’ “But I just quit!”

      And so on; Activision talking about ‘gross insubordination’ is probably just to hide that they were uncooperative, and IW got uppity about it.

  20. Garg says:

    @Sagan: It’s highly unlikely Activision will muck up any Blizzard games, seeing as how the partnership is more that Blizzard owns Activision rather than the other way around. They’ve really just shot themselves in the foot here though, cos as Cliffski points out these guys started off on MoHAA before getting nabbed by Activision to make the CoD series, and prompty stealing the crown from EAs MoH series. Who knows, they may end up going back to lead the MoH series at EA.

  21. cncplyr says:

    +1

  22. Demon Beaver says:

    Seems that someone slaughtered their money-printing goose… popcorn, anyone?

    • James G says:

      Yeah, its a strange move. I’d love to find out what the ‘insubordination’ is, because you’d think it’d have to be something pretty bid given the size of the golden egg which was MW2. Either that or it was in the form of a big FU when Activision asked them to make MW3 as a facebook game.

    • Demon Beaver says:

      Your friend Bobby_K shot at you with a super-advanced assault rifle. Click here to install Modern Warfare 3 and shoot back.

      Probably for the best that they left…

    • Starky says:

      My bet, insubordination is something along the lines of…

      IW: “We made you a billion dollars, now would you please pay us the money you owe – and we’d like some stock options kkthx”
      Bobby: “Money? My slaves want paid? BACK TO THE MINES WITH YOU!”
      IW: “Screw this tin-pot dick…”
      Bobby: “…? ….? ….? You’re fired! Security!”

    • HermitUK says:

      @Starky. I’m invisaging their escape from Activision to be much like the end of Portal, only instead of a mad AI at the end it’s just Kotick in a swivel chair made of ivory and gold.

    • cyrenic says:

      @HermitUK

      We could only hope, because that would involve pieces of Kotick being thrown into a fire.

  23. Britpunk says:

    Of course, thanks to Steam, Valve are now acting as publishers for an awful lot of devs.

    Oh god please Valve, don’t ever be evil.

    • Namos says:

      Are you saying Google should buy Valve?
      Scary thought.

    • jalf says:

      I don’t suppose promising the world to people if they just buy your game, and then a year later going “screw this, let’s sell people a sequel instead” counts as evil? ;)

      or locking everyone in to your proprietary DRM platform preventing game trading and putting you completely at the mercy of their admins who can effectively lock you out from your games at a whim, the stability of their servers and your internet connection, and their rather flaky history of handling security as all that stands between you and loss of access to your account?

      Seriously, as much as Valve has made some good games, and as well-deserved as their success with Steam is, let’s not pretend they’re any “less evil” than any other company.

    • Nesetalis says:

      I commented on this in a previous news item.. valve is just shy of evil, they are staying on the ‘good side’ similar to how google was before they started stealing books :P

      anyway.. valve has its up and downs, but its not quite evil yet… but it could, so very well become pure fucking evil… its just a matter of time.

    • frymaster says:

      valve are partly barred from being evil because of the business model. they don’t act as traditional publishers by putting money up front and then insisting on design/aesthetic changes (tho I suspect they have some sort of “shit better not crash all the time” rules)

      they also leave control over pricing to the developers and don’t seem to have exclusivity deals (apart from ones with steamworks built-in, obviously, and even there you can still buy them from other places)

      Mainly this is because the steam service is a middleman service rather than a “buy from one and sell to the other” retailer – because of this business model, valve have less control (for good _or_ evil) over the developers of individual titles.

    • FunkyBadger says:

      Valve are a privately owned company. This is the only difference. If/when Valve go public then abandon all hope.

    • jalf says:

      Let’s try again: Valve is not “good” or “evil”. They’re not on either side. They just do what they think is best for their own business. Just like Google. Neither company has *any* interest in either destroying the world or saving it.

      The concept of “good” or “evil simply doesn’t apply, regardless of what they do. Valve is a company, not a human being.

    • Calabi says:

      True no company is good or evil, but some companies act perceptibly more evil than others.

    • Kadayi says:

      Gotta love people who anthropomorthize entire companies.

    • FunkyBadger says:

      adayi: thought experiment – how would you treat a human that acted in the same way as, say, Activision? You know, in terms of respect and integrity and all that important stuff…

    • Kadayi says:

      @FunkyBadger

      “Kadayi: thought experiment – how would you treat a human that acted in the same way as, say, Activision? You know, in terms of respect and integrity and all that important stuff…”

      Public companies are not human beings, even a CEO like Bobby K isn’t beholden to no one. He has a board of directors to answer to (who could vote him out if they didn’t feel he was up to the task), as well as shareholders to keep happy. If anything this decision was decided at board level. Clearly things have been fractious between what Activision want (profits), and what IW want (exclusivity over the CoD franchise) in terms of forward movement. This isn’t ‘evil’, or ‘good’ or even cream cheese for matter, it’s just the way of business when dealing with public traded companies.

      Clearly the Head guys at IW thought they were in a position of power coming off of MW2, and clearly Acrtivisions board thing otherwise. Frankly I’d say it’s a gamble on the part of Activision, because it’s probably likely that a few more people might walk, especially if the guys who left have any intentions of forming a new company. Given their track record of game/sales success I don’t doubt there are plenty of venture capitalists out there who’d be prepared to pour £30 – 50 million into a 2 year development on the basis that these guys will deliver gold bricks in terms of return.

    • FunkyBadger says:

      Perfectly aware of how the world turns, K. But it is worth bearing in mind what drives these things.

      Suspect you’re right about the venture capitalists as well. There certainly seems to be no shortage of idiots dredging around far less profitable areas than CoD-games (although I doubt the returns would stack anywhere near as high).

  24. EGTF says:

    Zampella and Jason West scan their P-45′s through an enigma machine and open the message in notepad to find a ISS number to dial which they listen to and download an image file given in morse-code that reveals Bobby Kotick is the lovechild of Dr.Breen and GLADOS.

    It’s the only way this news story should pan out.

  25. Uhm says:

    Next they’ll be after you for not diplaying appropriate copyright notification on screenshots of their game. Or something.

  26. A Dry Erase Board says:

    Ding dong the witch is dead.

  27. Cooper says:

    This, people, is why unions are good. Unions may be regarded as bullies – but when your company turns round and hires heavies to enforce their rule – I’d rather have a bully standing in their way on my behalf than put myself (and my job) on the line.

    This is why game development – as one of the most under-unionised creative industries out there – seriously needs to start developing strong union bodies. Previously it would have been to address the working conditions, hours of work and job security issues raised in ‘wife of EA’ and similar points of discussion.

    Now it seems it’s needed to avoid what (rumours abound mind you) seems like simple criminal harrassment and intimidation.

    • Alexander Norris says:

      No, man. Unions are, like, socialism, and socialism is, like, communism. If you support unions, you support healthcare and if you support healthcare, you want us all to live in a totalitarian state where the government gets a free pass to do whatever it wants and can ignore whatever document passes for a constitution locally. Better dead than red!

    • Starky says:

      You have to love hardcore capitalists don’t you, in their opinion that a system designed to screw over as many as possible for the benefit of the few is somehow the only right and moral system.

    • Latro says:

      While I’m in agreement unions in software and in IT in general should be stronger (as in, existing :-P), arent those 2 gentleman a bit up in the chain of command to be considered “workers” needing an union to help them?

    • TeeJay says:

      Not sure it has much to do with being unionised – I somehow doubt a union rep would be able to do much about a company preventing someone who no longer worked in an office from having access to their desk and computer.

      It might seem harsh to escort sacked people off the premises but on the other hand a pissed-off and just-sacked worker might be very tempted to go and wipe hard drives/servers, take commercially value information, use the company corporate email to send one last message to all employees and all corporate contacts and so forth…

    • FunkyBadger says:

      Standard practice for just sacked folks to be excorted off the premises. And its the closest HR drones get to feeling the warm flicker of human emotion. Would be callous to deny them even that.

    • AVarotsis says:

      This has absolutely nothing to do with unions. They’re some of the top cheeses, and they’re escorted off. It’s standard protocol. It’s how it works.

    • Calabi says:

      But they werent escorted off though, they never showed up to work. Why the heavies are there is not entirely clear.

    • Kakksakkamaddafakka says:

      AVarotsis:

      Going with the cheese analogy, would that mean Activision cut the cheese?

    • Kadayi says:

      @Calabi

      In case they try to turn up. Effectively they’d be trespassing.

  28. Rob says:

    I feel for the employees that are left, it’s got to feel horribly unstable in Infinity Ward at the moment

  29. Cabbs says:

    Its at times like these that i’m thankful Valve is still privately owned.

    How long would their good ideas and general community engagement last if they were bought, I ask myself.

    • Starky says:

      About 12-18 months, then the constant pressure on the creative minds within valve to churn out massive profit making products every quarter in order to feed the parasitic organism that is stock holders will take away their creativity in such things. THey’ll lose the motivation to be brilliant under the pressure to “perform”.
      Casting out any long term goals and integrity in order to keep those annual reports looking healthy – grinding the IPs and franchises into the ground, milking them until not even a drop is left…

      Then Valve would collapse, their IPs tainted by shoddy mindless sequels, Steam would be sold off to another company but very few users would buy new games from it any more as it would not longer be trustworthy – while those of us with filled up accounts would be hoping that we could still play our games in months to come.
      Most of the staff at valve would leave for better projects, or they’d be swallowed into other studios. Some might quit AAA titles and go into smaller but profitable markets like DS games and such.

      The investors (at least those smart enough to sell their shares at the first sign of that goose no longer laying pure gold) would happily take their profits and look for a new company to buy, then run into the ground.

      Obviously not true for all publicly traded companies – at least not ones in which someone holds a majority share, and enough power to keep a long term vision and goal – but it happens WAY to often with media companies.
      Mainly due to the high risks, and high costs involved – investors want a return, and due to the high risk and unstable marketplace that is anything tech/entertainment based – they want a good return fast. Not caring about long term company health.

    • Ffitz says:

      And look. Just to bolster the example, here’s one from the other side:

      http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/ubisoft-splinter-cell-creed-more-often

      Ubisoft: Splinter Cell, Creed “more often”

      Look, here you are, consumers, here’s a new sequel to a game you once enjoyed. The game that was creative, and had time and love lavished on it, because the dev team were excited and inspired by what they were building. Not this sequel though, This sequel’s been built in a third of the time, by an understaffed team, because we need to get those titles on the shelves and the money rolling in to keep our short-termist shareholders happy. It’s going to be shit, but you don’t care, do you? Buy it. Pre-order it and pay full price and we’ll even let you play the whole game.

      Here’s my fucking manifesto promise: you can only own shares in a games company if you’re a gamer. That’s it, no argument. Vote for me.

  30. Tei says:

    Creating software (not only games) is a high risk affair. It seems is mostly a bad idea,..

    We have see, by now, lots of important and big game studios die. Making a game studio that can live of his work, is hard, you can success at quality and still bankrupt, or you can be succesfull at quality and profit, and still close. It seems theres a combination of high risk activities and several variables you have to max, that make the whole thing impossible. Talent, Hard Work, Luck, Success … is not enough (!).

    Publishing seems (comparativelly) a easier task. Probably theres lots of talent and hard working on the publisher side, but while game studios come and die, publisher grown fat and complacent, maybe even buy some game studios to get bigger.

    • Jad says:

      Well, plenty of publishers have gone under, or have been bought, or are currently living a twighlight existence as an IP holding company. Like Eidos or Sierra or Interplay.

  31. the_fanciest_of_pants says:

    Kotick really is a piece of work. Can’t say I’m terribly disturbed over Jason’s alleged firing though, after IW’s treatment of the PC gamers who gave his company their start.

    Yes I’m still bitter about no mod support and no dedicated servers.

    • HermitUK says:

      Of course, here you’re assuming this was all IW’s choice. It’s entirely possible IWNet was forced upon them by Activision as a MAXIMUM PROFIT, MINIMUM PIRACY mandate.

    • Flameberge says:

      @ HermitUK

      Well if you’re talkign about assumptions, we are all assuming this is Activision acting like an assclown. We haven’t even paused to consider that maybe, just maybe, the IW devs are in the wrong and this is being blown out of proportion for publicity.

      I admit, I don’t believe that either, but just making a point :-)

  32. Calabi says:

    I’ve heard loads of stories of Developers getting ripped off by the publishers. I’m amazed any of them take it. perhaps in this case they decided not to bend over, hence the furore.

    • Kadayi says:

      I doubt it’s anything to do with being ‘ripped off’ I’m sure all the people working at IW got their contractual money hat bonuses for the success of MW2. The problem is probably more over the CoD IP and the direction Activision want to take it.

  33. suibhne says:

    The upside of all this for us is that we’ll probably learn more dirt about MW2 development that would have ever come out otherwise. I’m really curious to find out how much of that turd was Activision’s fault. I don’t have much faith in IW in this post-MW2 world, but my sympathies are still with them in any matchup against Activision and Bobby Kotick.

  34. VHATI says:

    i would feel sorry for Peeps at IW, if they felt sorry about mw2 pc release. which they dont.

  35. Stupoider says:

    Stormclouds are gathering.

  36. Tei says:

    PRO-TIP:

    If you got unemployed recently, relax a few days (4) and play some videogames.

  37. Schaulustiger says:

    Kotaku brought up some interesting facts about Activision’s revenues, stating that 68% of their profit comes from the three great franchises they have: Guitar Hero, Call of Duty and *shudder* World of Warcraft (which itself makes up 98% of Blizzard’s income).

    I’d be pretty upset if two thirds of my income would come from three heavily milked and partially unstable cash cows.

  38. unaco says:

    I reckon the “non uniformed ‘bouncer’ types” are infact a hardcore Russian Terrorist/Paramilitary/LANGamer group who have stormed the building to take IW hostage until they code, test and release proper Dedicated servers. And balance the game for lean.

    Also, I could see some of the IW people doing the same as they did when they split from EA/2015… start a new developer, create a new FPS Combat Based Pseudo Realistic shooter game, enamour the PC gaming crowd a little, then stab them in the back, spit in their eyes and fondle their special ladies/lady friends. This cycle will then repeat, for eternity, like something from a Greek myth, or an episode of Jim Henson’s “Story Teller”.

  39. laughoutlord says:

    Good Riddance.

  40. Lobotomist says:

    I really had it with big publishers. Game industry really hit its lowest point ever.

    Yesterday i read how game industry employees in Japan work 100 hours work weeks. And are payed just enough to barely survive.

    And it used to be dream job.

    Fuck publishers!

    I started my personal trend. I buy a lot from indie developers and i am glad for every penny spend. Even if the game sucks. At least i know money went to a person with a dream and not to some accountant who sold his soul for a $$$

  41. The Pink Ninja says:

    They sent in jack booted thugs?

    Seriously?

  42. Vadermath says:

    Crap, for I moment I hoped that the dev team in charge of the PC version was gunned down in a Russian airport.

    STOP WITH THE FALSE HOPEGIVING, RPS!

  43. Shalrath says:

    “OK they still have Blizzard, and so far the guy has smartly kept his hands out of there”

    I dunno about that, I recall Warhammer Online being released, and a certain other MMO rushed out an expansion – their first product to EVER be released ahead of schedule – which gave me quite the ‘activision’ impression.

  44. Fuu says:

    Bobby Kotick is only unlike the rest of the world’s CEO leeches in that he has made it publicly known that he couldn’t give a flying strapon about the quality of his product as long as he can call the shots and syphon the money into the ACTUALLY WARPED AND REPULSIVE lower half of his face. I really hope the IW guys jumped ship to escape the culture of “skepticism, pessimism, and fear”, in the knowledge that they could easily put together something as great as CoD4 again.

  45. l1ddl3monkey says:

    While Activision continue to make as much money as they do they will continue to do whatever the fuck they like. That’s pretty much how the world works.

    • Mario Figueiredo says:

      Yup. And for a man that makes in bonuses 16x more than his salary, everyone agrees he’s doing a good job.

      Now… when you do say something like “Don’t buy Activision games”, you get these clowns with comments like “What? Vote with your wallet? lolz. You are an idiot”. So yeah, those clowns think he’s doing a great job, too.

  46. Dreamhacker says:

    A bunch of bouncer types showed up outside office one day? Wow, not only is that the most disgustingly passive-aggressive crap I’ve ever seen but it is also illegal in several European nations…

    • Will Tomas says:

      Yeah, honestly that was my thought too – surely there must be some Law about this sort of thing. And the guys who resigned/were sacked at the top can go for a massive constructive dismissal claim if they want to countersue, as can anyone else who leaves IW because of this stuff. That would be very interesting, because then the working practices would end up in court or they’d have to be paid off.

    • Kadayi says:

      @Dreamhacker & Will Tomas

      They’re in the US, basically if you’re fired (or announce you’re quitting) there then it’s pretty much standard practice that your employers will have you escorted out of the building then and there (I expect in this case the security was there to ensure that neither of then entered the building). They don’t have any of the legislative safeguards we do in Europe.

    • FunkyBadger says:

      Happens every day in, err, London too. Anyone with potentially sensitive information – they get the bullet then get escorted out, generally not even allowed back to their desks.

    • drewski says:

      Better to risk a lawsuit than industrial espionage.

  47. Will says:

    God ten seconds of reading quotes from this Kotick fellow (I’m not a fan of Activision games anyway…meh to them all) and I already loathe him.

    If you earn over $15m a year – even if that is mostly in bonuses – and you make huge speeches about “keeping everyone focused on the depression” and the hard economic times, you deserve to have a revolution dedicated just to overthrwoing you.

  48. KOri says:

    This. And also can I un-buy MW2 for PS3? The game is currently unplayable.

  49. noname says:

    I read somewhere that this is nothing but a PR stunts, that it’s IW and Activision putting a show since Bad Company 2 was just released and it’s the cool new game to play. Anyone heard that?