Bobby Kotick’s Provocation Corner

By Alec Meer on June 8th, 2011 at 4:21 pm.

Staring right into the soul of your wallet

Activision boss Big Bobby K is unsurprisingly out on the campaign trail for Modern Warfare 3, and that means any journalists who manage to get past his Nazgûl guards inevitably attempt to ask him how he thinks EA’s rivalrous Battlefield 3 is going to compare.

Here’s what he said. It almost certainly won’t make you say incredibly rude things about a man you’ve never met.

“So far, I’ve only seen Battlefield 3 on a PC. I haven’t seen it on a console where the bulk of our business is,” he said to CNBC (see below). “If it’s just a PC title, as it looks like today, that’s just a small audience to participate,” he added.

Right. Riiiight.

Number 1! It seems incredibly unlikely he’d be so unfamiliar with his lead cashcow’s primary rival, and one that comes out just two weeks before MW3, that he’d think it wasn’t also coming out on the Third Station Of Play and the Three Hundred and Sixtieth Box Of X, so I can’t help but think he’s, well, trolling. He knows damn well; my wild, unfounded, entirely speculative guess would be that he’s talking more about the fact that the world at large doesn’t yet have a good sense of how the console versions look and thus wants to sow doubt.

Number 2! The PC is “a small audience to participate.” Er – you know most of your company’s money comes from World of Warcraft, right?

Seriously though: these are out of context, on the spot quotes. There are acres of thought-field that kind of clip can never, ever cover. Provocative they may be – as a man’s words about his rival would so often be – but don’t go kidding yourself that such propaganda is the limit of his thinking.

Here’s the full video if you want to hear how he said what he said, but be warned that most of it’s about that Weeooo thing.


Via Develop.

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131 Comments »

  1. Nallen says:

    Staring eyes tag!

    (will now read the article)

    Sounds like the sole objective was to imply BF3 will not even be a console game. Which, assuming he’s not utterly stupid and actually believes it’s a PC only game, makes me think he’s just a tiny bit nervous about everyone’s new darling.

  2. TotalBiscuit says:

    Perhaps we could just ignore him

    • Dakia says:

      Every time this guy opens his mouth, all I ever hear is the overwhelming sound of millions of palms hitting millions of faces in unison.

      [e] Hmmm, didn’t mean to reply to TB specifically.

    • gorgol says:

      TB, hear hear.

      To be honest though I tried to listen to him but he was just so goddamn boring it was impossible. I don’t know how Alec managed it! Kudos to him. That said I don’t think there’s any danger of people not ignoring him, he is too damn boring to listen to, unless its your job to do so ofc.

    • Teddy Leach says:

      It’s like a wasp buzzing around your head. Kinda hard to ignore something so bloody irritating.

    • Jesse L says:

      Second-guessing a suit’s motivation for saying what he says in an interview -

      Why not spend the time shopping for earrings your dog can wear?

      At least that way something interesting has been done.

    • dreadguacamole says:

      Didn’t he also say/imply that Guitar Hero was the first full band game? (when Rock Band had come out a full year before World Tour.)
      Spin doctors will spin.

    • JohnnyMaverik says:

      I’m not sure I like the new zen buddhist TB :(

      More fire and brimstone please… don’t ignore him, punch him in the face and then explain to him why he’s wrong and why that makes you hate him.

    • povu says:

      Ignoring worked for Jack Thompson…

    • Nick says:

      Getting disbarred worked for him.

  3. Nicholas Totton says:

    Sigh…

  4. Binman88 says:

    Guy is a clown of the Silly Billy variety.

    • mkultra says:

      As well as sharing a familial history of sexual abuse, I can assume.
      Raping markets all day ‘er day.

  5. Milky1985 says:

    That is a very , very , very ,very creepy thumbnail image of the video there.

    Half expecting the face to mechnicaly turn then he jump out of the screen and try to choke me with a copy of MW3.

    I like how they did the interview before the nintendo press conference :p

  6. PatrickSwayze says:

    I’d love to be him.

  7. Kolchak says:

    I swear if Modern Warfare 3 manages to outsell Battlefield 3 on the PC then I guess gaming deserves to die. Because this man wants to take the fun out of playing games.

    • MilanS says:

      Agreed. PC gamers, fondle your wallet. We need this to top Titanic.

    • pepper says:

      We are going to buy a iceberg and sail it into the Acti-blizzard HQ?

    • Unaco says:

      OK… I posted a somewhat longer comment earlier, but it appears to have been swallowed.

      I disagree with the OP. I don’t think you can accuse Activision/Kotick of ‘trying to take the fun out of games’. I think ‘fun’ is one thing they do right, and the millions of people who played and enjoyed MW2 and CODBLOPS, and the millions that will pick up MW3 and have fun with it are testament to that. Yes it’s mindless, yes it’s consolified, yes they’re money hungry sharks, yes I thought the last one I played (MW2) was terrible. But it’s big, mindless, overly scripted, over the top, rollercoaster ride type fun for many, many people, and if I wasn’t quite so cynical, and if my gaming tastes ran to the big noisy manshoots still, I might have had fun with it.

      I have friends who play the multiplayer of whatever is the latest COD all the time, and have great fun with it. I even hopped on one of their full circle devil machines, and grasped that sweaty plastic appendage and had fun. Albeit very briefly, and it was mainly because it was a server full of people I know… friends who 10-15 years ago I hid my gaming tendencies from (telling them I wasn’t coming out drinking/partying that weekend because I’d just bought Alpha Centauri didn’t get you much cred), but now I’m more than comfortable preaching to about and discussing games with them.

    • Ergonomic Cat says:

      This, combined with BF3′s fantabulous showing at E3, has ended any thoughts about whether I should get MW3 or BF3.

      Although I do admit that I tend to think of the BF series as PC, and the CoD series as console….

    • Nick says:

      MW3 will work on XP and have lower requirements.

      Just sayin’

    • vodka and cookies says:

      Unfortunately CoD games + DLC are consistent top sellers on Steam so although the hardcore PC base may no longer support CoD there is a large amount of PC gamers who don’t care and will just lap up any CoD game.

      Really PC gaming demographic is no different from game consoles most hardcore console gamers are not thrilled about CoD either but you have a large amount of one game only people who latch onto CoD.

    • rocketman71 says:

      Me, I’d prefer any Valve product, or any other one that respects PC Gamers (proper dedis, LAN, modding, etc) to sell well rather than either BF3 or MW3. I don’t give a shit about the CoDs or the BFs, they both lost it 4 or 5 sequels ago.

  8. Stochastic says:

    Must…suppress…knee-jerk rage.

    Is anyone else a little disturbed by the fact that he implies that the “Nintendo demographic” consists of 6-11-year-olds?

    • Milky1985 says:

      If you ask a PS3 or 360 owner that is what they will claim as well.

      hes just parroting what his target audience of ill informed idoits wants to hear, while showing he has no idea what he is talking about at the same time.

  9. _Jackalope_ says:

    I want this man to have a very bad day, very soon.

  10. magnus says:

    The thing is, if we bitch about Bobby Kotick/Activisionwe’re not bitching about John Riccitillo/EA and he knows it. That’s why he’s being such an arse, it’s an act and we’re falling for it!

    • ResonanceCascade says:

      So your point is that Bobby Kotick says things that piss people off on purpose so that they’ll talk about him instead of someone else? Thath thilly.

    • mkultra says:

      Or he realizes that MW3 will make half a billion dollars in revenue within the first 48 hours of release and he does not care.

  11. aircool says:

    I think he needs glasses, or contacts or something.

  12. 4026 says:

    Hold on hold on HOLD ON EVERYBODY!

    Stop your childish scrapping! Riccitiello, let go of Bobby’s hair. I’ve just realised something.

    I can buy both of your games! And enjoy both of them!

    Even better, so can everybody else!

    I know! I was as surprised to hear it as you are.

    Now, can we all agree that this stupid, pointless feud is stupid and pointless?

    • Binman88 says:

      Pretty sure there’s a very large number of people who tend to buy one big multiplayer FPS every year or two, so there’s a legit reason for the competition between these two companies.

    • Premium User Badge

      Richard Beer says:

      *GASP*

      You mean this entire war of the titans is a publicity stunt involving two of the world’s most publicity-hungry publishers?

      I FEEL VIOLATED.

      And not in a good way.

    • Velvetmeds says:

      I’m not so sure about the part “we can enjoy MW3″. Something about that idea just doesn’t seem right…

    • 4026 says:

      @Richard Beer: By George, you’re right. We must inform The Internet at once!

      @Velvetmeds: Well, I’ll give it my best shot. Or, maybe I’ll watch a walkthrough on Youtube for exactly the same experience. (Oooh, burn, etc.)

      @Binman: You’re probably right, of course. That’s precisely the market this whole preposterous willy-waving contest is for. It doesn’t make it seem any less stupid from my point of view, as someone who buys and plays dozens of games in a year.

    • Stochastic says:

      True, but there are a limited number of developers and development dollars. Every penny being spent on developing/marketing/hyping MW3 is a penny that could be devoted to making other, more interesting games (of course, this is a somewhat flawed argument since Activision will no doubt recoup those costs many times over, but the same could be said for hypothetical other games they could be making).

    • Binman88 says:

      @4026: Yes, it seems stupid to me too. At least Riccitiello hasn’t been quite as obnoxious as Kotick. I’m rooting for neither side (though BF3 appeals to me more), but Bobby Kotick has always come off as the worst of the two when it comes to bickering.

    • 4026 says:

      It’s true, it’s hard to best Kotick in the obnoxiousness stakes.

      I dunno, I wouldn’t mind so much if it were a friendly rivalry. A bit of humourous banter here and there. Something on the level of that Magicka poster. That’d do. More of that sort of thing.

      But this… this is just… joyless. It’s all snide remarks, and pointing out the problems in the other product.

    • thegooseking says:

      I dunno, I wouldn’t mind so much if it were a friendly rivalry. A bit of humourous banter here and there. Something on the level of that Magicka poster. That’d do. More of that sort of thing.

      Something like EA already did with Duty Calls, then.

      I agree. More, please.

    • Jason Moyer says:

      Both EA and Activision are evil as hell. The difference between them, in this particular case, is that one of them has a great developer (DICE) who makes great games for them (Mirror’s Edge, Battlefield Series, and we’ll forget about Rallisport Notreallymuchofachallenge) and the other exists on the back of mindless bullshit like World of Warcraft and Call of Duty. On a side note, their continued use of the name Activision has essentially tainted my feelings about the fantastic developer Activision and should have been retired when the studio went under.

      Edit: Also, Kotick can feel free to stop sitting on the Infocom brand and back catalog and sell it to someone who would actually do something with it.

  13. Geralt says:

    Bobby Kotick ladies and gentlemen! The biggest troll in the gaming industry today. Gamers around the world will celebrate the day he is no longer part of this industry.

    • Stochastic says:

      At which point he’ll be replaced with another like-minded CEO. As much as we may despise his business philosophy, Bobby Kotick is not the root of the problem. If people weren’t lapping up every Call of Duty sequel we wouldn’t even be having this discussion.

  14. faelnor says:

    You’ll find that the proper spelling for this article is “Kotick’s Provokation Korner”.

  15. phenom_x8 says:

    then PC gamer wont have to buy more modern warfare ! Btw, why they launch elite when PC gamer are not their audience?

    • Teddy Leach says:

      PC gamers are used to all the things Elite offers, and we’re used to them being free. This is aimed at console gamers who aren’t used to the things Elite offers.

  16. Maykael says:

    He’s definitely trolling Riccitiello. We need not become angry internet men over some corporate bullshit.

  17. Teddy Leach says:

    Mr. EA had a few digs at the Elite ‘service’. It was all very amusing and the audience had a bit of a giggle.

  18. Edawan says:

    Number 2! The PC is “a small audience to participate.” Er – you know most of your company’s money comes from World of Warcraft, right?

    I bet Kotick knows better than you how much blockbuster FPSes sell on PC compared to other platforms.

    • ResonanceCascade says:

      You’re right, I’m sure he does know how much better Activision console ports sell on PC compared to X-Box and PS3. However, ask someone like Valve their opinion on the matter, and something interesting happens…

      I suspect BF3 is going to have excellent PC sales. Probably not more than either console, but enough to remind Kotick that it IS a viable platform for FPS games, and not something to be scoffed at.

    • geldonyetich says:

      He might not have forgotten about World of Warcraft, so much as he believes it’s the reason why the PC market is so small.

    • Erd says:

      @geldonyetich

      Is there a link or a quote for that? Seems like stupid thing to say.

  19. kikito says:

    I like his smile when she mentions Nintendo in 1:54

    Makes me think of vampires, sharks, lawyers and other predators.

  20. WebFusion says:

    Hmmm….might want to tell Valve – you know, the company valued at between 2 and 4 billion – that their primary market is a “small audience”, especially considering they were the first to figure out a way to continually monetize an existing ( 3+ year old, traditional PC game) IP using micro-transactions on the PC, long before “COD Elite” was ever conceived.

    This is just the usual corporate spin. If a large corporation is too slow and stupid to capitalize on an existing market (or reverse their sliding market share due to poor product), they simply try to convince everyone that there IS no market.

    I don’t care if MW3 is successful or not on a personal basis, but from a business standpoint, I hope BF3 knocks COD’s dick in the dirt in terms of sales, if for no other reason than to show Activision’s board how truly out of touch this CEO is with the market he thinks he knows.

  21. Dinger says:

    And doubly hilarious since on my screen, his bloodshot staring eyes are framed by Battlefield 3 ads announcing the release dates with all them platform logos.
    Sure, he could be trolling. But odds are it’s just idiocy amplified by two martinis.

  22. rivalin says:

    I love how his eyes lit up when she asked him if the Weoo thing was going to help him sell more games.

    That man must shit gold but he really has no other redeeming qualities. If I were Activision I would keep him well away from any interaction with the public except interviews with CNBC and Bloomberg.

    His contempt for the product he sells almost drips off him.

    • Teddy Leach says:

      “That man must shit gold”

      Great, now every time Tywin Lannister is mentioned, I’m going to see Kotick’s lifeless eyes staring at my wallet.

    • _Jackalope_ says:

      He’s like Noah of Noah Arcades, from Waynes World!

  23. westyfield says:

    Sit up straight, Kotick.

  24. Premium User Badge

    Rinox says:

    Number 1! It seems incredibly unlikely he’d be so unfamiliar with his lead cashcow’s primary rival, and one that comes out just two weeks before MW3

    Actually, it’s not at all unlikely that a CEO knows nothing about his products or their rivals They hold meetings and count money, they don’t actually know anything about their products 90% of the time.

  25. Kollega says:

    Okay, i have to say that i’m a bit iddifferent to the whole Kotick/Activision/MW3 debacle. Sure, i want Kotick to die and Activision to crumble as much as the next guy (because they’ve started the whole “modern warfarce” trend and own WoW, neither of which encourages innovation), and i think that BF3 looks like a genuinely better game, but i don’t rage about ol’ Bobby’s escapades all the time

    But even my slight iddifference taken into account, i guess i can still rage about him. BURN THE KOTICK!

  26. CaLe says:

    He’s all about the money and the business side of this stuff, he doesn’t care if your PC is your precious baby. It makes less money for the games his company makes, that’s all that matters to him.

  27. Notelpats says:

    Damn, those eyes are creepy.

  28. Kevin says:

    I had tried to scroll the article so that I could read it while not subjecting my eyes to that man’s face. Alas, Meer’s thoughts did not last long enough for that to be so.

  29. zeroskill says:

    Kotick for biggest douche in the universe award!

  30. MiniTrue says:

    Number One: That’s terror.
    Number Two: That’s terror.

  31. nayon says:

    WHY IS HIS TIE SO LONG

    • hungrytales says:

      OMG, It can’t be! You’ve beaten me with this comment by a bloody split second. I’ve just managed to check if there was a ‘tie’ mentioned anywhere in the comments and just a sec ago it wasn’t. Damn :)

      But right. It’s too long, it’s too wide. It’s too bloody obscene.

    • R10T says:

      All hail the champion! *raises Nayon’s hands*

  32. gallardo1 says:

    ok with your number1, not with the 2 since he likely intended the small pc audience of cod relatively the huge console audience of cod.

  33. Premium User Badge

    oceanclub says:

    While it would be naive to think that the gaming industry is full of actual gamers, there’s something eminently depressing about such an utterly joyless numbers guy being in such a position of importance, a man whose USP is to batter a franchise into submission until everyone is utterly fed up of it *eyes piles of “Guitar Hero” plastic objects in local HMV*

    P.

  34. Calabi says:

    He doesnt seem very evil to me!

    • zeroskill says:

      hes not evil, just a total and utter asshole. That kind of person you dont want your kids to hang out with, so they never become something like him.

  35. aldo_14 says:

    Surely there are very expensive PR people at Activision who can figure out this guy isn’t going to be a ‘marketing asset’ for selling games?

    • gorgol says:

      Sure, but who’s gonna tell him?.. He’s the CEO… These very expensive PR people have their very expensive wagepacket to not want to get fired from you know.

  36. Outsider says:

    I haven’t even had a chance to read the article, but I wanted to congratulate you on the title and lead picture. It made me laugh out loud.

  37. GeorgeB says:

    yer a cock, yer a cock, yer a cock

    cock

  38. Jamesworkshop says:

    meh ceo type person says uncharitable things about a rival business, like it matters MW3 will still hit 15+ million units anyway

  39. Arglebargle says:

    Blowhard Dickhead….

  40. gwathdring says:

    One day I woke up and everybody here hated some guy named Kotick. Eventually I figured out he had something to do with Activision.

    I’m a wee bit confused. I mean, CEOs in general tend to to less than their salaries imply and it’s a horrible business model, but that applies to every company. He wants his company to make money first and good games second? Oh. You mean capitalism … well, sure I’d love to see the art come first, but that’s a bit of a big social innovation to expect from one CEO isn’t it?

    Oh yeah. Call of Duty is destroying he world because people buy it and enjoy it, and everything related to consoles is the spawn of satan. I forgot that part. It all makes sense now.

    • ResonanceCascade says:

      I guess since businesses only exist to make money we should never express our opinions on what they’re doing to an industry we enjoy. Since it’s all about making money, they should be completely exempt to any criticism that doesn’t come directly from their shareholders.

      I like to respond to straw man arguments with equally ridiculous straw man arguments.

    • Barnaby says:

      You obviously haven’t read some of the things Kotick has said…

      Games like Modern Warfare 2 hurt the games industry (FPS’s especially) much the way WoW has hurt the game industry (specifically MMO’s). They are propped up as these shining examples of being great games when in actuality they are good/ok games that have a huge fanbase of young people who have little understanding of worth or voting with your wallet ($15 map pack anyone?).

      In this context I think the issue of consoles is peripheral. The real issue (as someone suggested above) is that people continue to pay for the games. People like Kotick are definitely part of the problem though.

    • gwathdring says:

      I apologize. My intent was not to suggest we can’t criticize people. My intent was to attack the irrational side of the anti-Kotick crowd. The problem isn’t Kotick or the consoles. A more relevant problem is the current relationship between publishers and mainstream gamers and the way that is railroading development and funneling all the money into franchise repeats and releasing publishers from their obligations to support old games when everyone buys the new version.

      Crucially, it’s a dialectic dynamic. It goes both ways, and both sides feed each other. It’s about the way the whole industry is behaving and interacting with the mental set of consumers and their apparent demands. I think many of the people here who are hating on Kotick are making just as much of a straw-man argument as I did in my initial post. I do in fact think we need to hold businesses accountable for the environment they create in their industry, but I don’t think that’s what’s happening here (neither people holding him accountable for that specifically, nor the environment being wholly created by figures like Kotick). I think a lot of this crap is just the opposite (reciprocal?) of a cult of personality.

      My comments about capitalism were over-simplified. I despise economic theories that conveniently forget how essential cooperation and integration of resources can be to our society. Likewise, I feel that if your sole intent is to make money, you are part of the problem. But so many companies and CEOs are part of that problem–even the ones that look nice and shiny on the surface. Furthermore, CEOs often have a lot less direct control over their companies than their ridiculous salaries imply. Major stock holders and directors boards tend to have a good deal of power as well, without the disadvantage of being known and thus hated when things go wrong. It depends on the company, though and I am not familiar with the specific hierarchy within Activision.

      Mostly I want to get away from this unproductive mockery and focus on the sorts of changes that could me made to avoid sinking further into this mess. What developers and publishers are doing it right? Is there a solution or is this just the way things have to be?

      Bland derivative crap has been part of every medium since the inception of media. It’s always going to be there as long as people consume it, and unless we educate consumers a little more and basically rewrite consumer culture to erase the focus on newness and spending (in America at least, that is an especially difficult task that would take a good deal of work on a multitude of cultural fronts).
      The pressure to own the next shiny game doesn’t even come mostly from the games industry–it comes from every corner of our economy. By all means attack that, but attack THAT rather than focusing narrowly on the little people who are riding the big wave. It’s just so much bigger. It’s not like if Call of Duty hadn’t happened, we’d be out of the woods. The mindset of a lot of consumers has them searching for this kind of mindless thing to easily dump money into and get instant returns out of. It didn’t start with these games. Let alone Bobby Kotick. It came form without, and that makes the question of repairing it from within the games industry look a lot more complicated.

  41. hamster says:

    Interesting to observe that Kotick really doens’t give anything away. I think he dodged just about every question. In particular, he probably faked ignorance on the BF3 launch platform. The only thing i gleaned from the interview (more like a monologue since he evades questions and just says what he wants to say) is that there seems to be a fairly structured, fairly scientific approach he has taken to game development based heavily on group tests/market research. Wonder how this data is collected – i suspect the scale is fairly large and the cost rather extensive. In the future, when a large(r) number of FPS titles from different studios saturate the market, and the FPS “paradigm” is discovered and becomes somewhat transparent to the market (I think we’re coming fairly close with COD already), I anticipate smaller studios will begin to really analyze statistical data of player’s playtime. What are the maps people like playing the most? What are the areas they enjoy lurking the most? Where are the areas that they get the most kills? How long on average do players play before they quit and what content have they accessed? What are players’ favorite weapons; what is their average response time; what is their accuracy on target acquisition over time etc. etc. all cross referenced with player particulars such as age, gender and game library (assuming they have that data).

  42. MythArcana says:

    The most ignorant, arrogant, and annoying CEO of all time, ladies and gentlemen.

  43. Navagon says:

    Don’t feed the troll.

  44. Premium User Badge

    UW says:

    Oh, please. Dragging up WoW when talking about an FPS is ridiculous, the market for CoD on console outstrips the PC by about ten to one, he’s made a perfectly valid statement.

  45. terry says:

    Judging by the rheuminess of Sir Nodick’s staring eyes, I’d guess most of his business decisions are on the Renegade side of the moral spectrum.

  46. McDan says:

    He just seems like a bit of a dick, if I’m honest. Even though they are in direct competition to be fiar, so of course he’ll try and reduce the oppositions worth.

    • McDan says:

      i’ve nver wanted to do this before, but now I want to punch a man I do not know in the face.

  47. neolith says:

    Why do people even talk to Kotick? Has he ever said anything of real interest?

    • torchedEARTH says:

      Sorry, was there an interview with Kotick? I thought the video was the Call of Duty child clones in their father’s suits pretending to be mature going to buy MW3 while the serious gaming adult went to buy BF3.

      What else did I miss?

  48. aircool says:

    Then again… after EA’s inability to handle anything internet related (game servers, downloading updates, their terrible online service – god knows what Origin is going to be like), I’d be a smug bastard as well.

  49. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    This picture of him reminded me of Bill Gates. Hmm..

  50. goldrunout says:

    The pc is a small audience for THEM because WE HATE CALL OF DUTY. Stop console bullshit, kotick, Pc is small because pc gamers want good games