Activision’s Robert Kotick Says EA Oppresses Developers [Update]

The battle between EA and Activision looks set to go into overdrive, with two of the year’s biggest shooters – Activision’s Call of Duty: Black Ops and EA’s Medal of Honor – going toe to toe this holiday season. However, Activision CEO, the infamous Bobby Kotick, isn’t stopping there and is now taking cheap shots at his competition.

Speaking with Edge, Activision CEO Robert Kotick was having a good old gossip about the company’s main publishing rival, EA.

“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 the developer is that they have a culture, they have an independent vision and that’s what makes them so successful’. We don’t have an Activision anything – it’s Treyarch, Infinity Ward, Sledgehammer. That, to me, is one of the unassailable rules of building a publishing company. And in every case except for two, the original founders of the studios are still running the studios today.

“I’ve been an oppressed EA developer! The thing is, it doesn’t work that way – that doesn’t work. EA’s DNA isn’t orientated towards that model – it doesn’t know how to do it, as a culture or as a company, and it never has. The most difficult challenge it faces today is: great people don’t really want to work there. It’s like, if you have no other options you might consider them. They have some – the team that makes Madden is a really great team, it’s been able to manage, capture and keep some good people.

“Its stock options have no value, its lost its way. And until it has success and hits, and gets its enthusiasm back for the company, it’s going to have a struggle getting really talented people which is going to translate into less than great games.”

Some strong words there, only time will tell whether Bobby ‘Nostradamus’ Kotick’s predictions that EA will soon fall from top spot will come true.

[Update] Seems like EA aren’t about to let Kotick’s comments go unnoticed. Gamasutra received this rebuttal from EA’s VP of corporate communications, Jeff Brown.

“Kotick’s relationship with studio talent is well-documented in litigation. 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.”

Fisticuffs at dawn anyone?