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Kotick: People don’t want to work for EA

27 Sep 2010  by   Paul Younger
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Speaking in the latest edition of EDGE magazine, Bobby Kotick, the colourful, outspoken CEO of Activision, has stated that EA has “been struggling for a long time” and that “great people don’t really want to work there”.
In the extensive interview, Kotick goes on to further attack EA and the way it conducts itself. “The core principle of how we run the company is the exact opposite of EA,” he argues. “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.’
“We don’t have an Activision anything – it’s Treyarch, Infinity Ward, Sledgehammer… There’s not a studio at this company that will tell you: ‘Activision is forcing us to get the game out.'”
As well as slam the way operates, Kotick goes on to attack the value of the company in terms of employee opportunities and stock value. 
“EA has a lot of resources, it’s a big company that’s been in the business for a long time – maybe it’ll figure it out eventually,” he said. “But its been struggling for a long time.
“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. But we have no shortage of opportunity to recruit out of EA – that’s their biggest challenge.
“Its stock options have no value, its lost its way. And until it has success and hits, and gets it enthusiasm back for the company, its going to have a struggle getting really talented people which is going to translate into less than great games.”
Kotick also addressed the words of game designer Tim Schafer who, earlier this year, described the Activison man as “a total prick”.
“The guy comes out and says I’m a prick,” said Kotick. “I’ve never met him in my life – I’ve never had anything to do with him.
“I never had any involvement in the Vivendi project that they were doing, Brütal Legend, other than I was in one meeting where the guys looked at it and said, ‘He’s late, he’s missed every milestone, he’s overspent the budget and it doesn’t seem like a good game. We’re going to cancel it.’
“And do you know what? That seemed like a sensible thing to do. And it turns out, he was late, he missed every milestone, the game was not a particularly good game…”
We eagerly await the next episode of the Bobby Kotick show…
UPDATE: Electronic Arts have since responded to Kotick’s comments.
UPDATE: Tim Schafer has also released a statement of his own.

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