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Kotick On IW Scandal: I Was Betrayed By My Friends

We don't necessarily enjoy reliving industry unpleasantness, but this represents Activision's most detailed response yet to the whole Activision/Infinity Ward scandal.

You all know the story by now; the one involving former IW bosses Vince Zampella and Jason West, and how those guys are now in a heated legal battle with the world's biggest game publisher. Well, Activision CEO Bobby Kotick isn't pulling any punches; he told Edge he "would be jailed" for what his former friends did. Said Kotick:

"The frustrating thing about that is, the stuff that these guys did, I would have never expected them to do. We’re a public company, we’ve got ethic obligations, and the things they did were... I would go to jail if I did them.

You can’t use the company and the company’s assets for your own personal benefit, and you can’t use the leverage that you might have for personal benefit – you’re not allowed to do that! And so we didn’t have any choice."

Activision fired West and Zampella back in March, which led to Infinity Ward losing 35 more staffers, who all left soon after. Many of the employees allege Activision was holding royalty pay "at ransom" and the group of plaintiffs are seeking many millions in a court settlement. However the ugliness plays out, Kotick will always be unhappy about the whole affair, and he also knew they'd "lose a lot of really talented people" after firing Zampella and West:

"It shook my belief in two specific people, who were my friends.

We knew that when we had to fire Jason and Vince we were going to keep we were going to lose a lot of really talented people. That’s one of the really difficult decisions as the CEO of a company, where you step back and say, no good is going to come of this, they’re going to leave and probably have a really hard time being productive or successful ever again, and we’re going to lose some talented people, and there’s nothing we can do about it. There wasn’t.

It’s one of those things where you get personally disappointed in people you trust and call friends. When you’re betrayed by your friends."

We're not about to pass judgment in any way, shape or form. West and Zampella don't exactly have a squeaky clean past (do the research) and in such cases, it's more than a little likely that one can find "wrong" on both sides. Either way, it's just unfortunate such things have to happen at all.

Tags: activision, infinity ward, bobby kotick, activision iw

9/27/2010 9:29:29 AM Ben Dutka

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Comments (47 posts)

Sir Shak
Monday, September 27, 2010 @ 10:01:00 AM
Reply

Activision is the scourge of this industry.

Agree with this comment 12 up, 5 down Disagree with this comment

McClane
Monday, September 27, 2010 @ 1:45:47 PM

What about Guitar Hero and the likes?? I don't think those are "scourge"

Agree with this comment 1 up, 11 down Disagree with this comment

Underdog15
Monday, September 27, 2010 @ 2:56:53 PM

How about just labeling his business practices as the "scourge".

Agree with this comment 4 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Sir Shak
Monday, September 27, 2010 @ 3:32:25 PM

I'm not asking people to stop liking their games, I loved the first MW. But Activision as a publisher and its executives are pests, and the more powerful they become, the worse this industry will get. Don't tell me you agree with the garbage that comes out of Kotex's mouth.

Agree with this comment 6 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Fane1024
Monday, September 27, 2010 @ 3:34:14 PM

Everything good about Guitar Hero was done by Harmonix, not Activision.

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Phoelix
Monday, September 27, 2010 @ 10:05:48 AM
Reply

"[T]hey’re going to leave and probably have a really hard time being productive or successful ever again[.]"

...right.

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GuardianMode
Monday, September 27, 2010 @ 10:07:44 AM
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If he is hoping for some sympathy he is in for a rude awakening. >.>

Agree with this comment 11 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Deleted User
Monday, September 27, 2010 @ 10:09:23 AM
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Did you hear what Boobie Kotex said about EA? This guy is really stirring the pot.

Agree with this comment 3 up, 1 down Disagree with this comment

Effi
Monday, September 27, 2010 @ 10:28:36 AM

boobie kotex? really?

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Nynja
Monday, September 27, 2010 @ 11:02:47 AM

Kotex .... lol

Agree with this comment 4 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Deleted User
Monday, September 27, 2010 @ 11:34:25 AM

Some people here refer to him as Boobie, others as Kotex. Might as well put them together and spell: BOYCOTT.

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Mornelithe
Monday, September 27, 2010 @ 10:09:37 AM
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His friends being, Benjamin Franklin ($100) and Grover Cleveland ($1000).

Agree with this comment 15 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

WolfCrimson
Monday, September 27, 2010 @ 10:14:01 AM
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Here's a prediction: This page is going to be filled with comments bashing Bobby Kotick.

Here's an assertion: I cannot, and will not, pass judgement on this matter, because I do not have enough information in this matter.

Agree with this comment 12 up, 6 down Disagree with this comment

Simcoe
Monday, September 27, 2010 @ 10:29:17 AM

The legal battle might be settled in a court of law once all the evidence is presented and all parties state their case, but the real battle will be decided in the court of public opinion.

Agree with this comment 11 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

WorldEndsWithMe
Monday, September 27, 2010 @ 1:41:47 PM

If you don't have enough information to dislike Bobby Kotick you haven't been paying attention.

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WolfCrimson
Tuesday, September 28, 2010 @ 1:23:32 AM

I meant on THIS matter, the court battle between Activision and former IW heads. And while I did make that prediction, I never said anything else, now did I?;) I'm just giving a weather forecast of what the comments were gonna be like.

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Highlander
Monday, September 27, 2010 @ 10:46:38 AM
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You know, the thing about this is that it's all in court. Coming out in an interview and making broad accusations and wild statements about ethical breaches and being jailed doesn't do anything but inflame the situation.

None of us know the particulars of the actual events, so none of us are in a position to do much or say much. There are two sides to every story, Kotick knows one, the IW guys know the other, the truth probably lays somewhere between the two. But either way, neither party in this dispute needs to be bad mouthing the other in the media. Honestly, Mr Kotick is senior enough in a huge corporation that he should know better than to speak out in such a manner about something that is already in court.

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Hezzron
Monday, September 27, 2010 @ 1:21:28 PM

There's a wise old Chinese saying that goes: "There are THREE sides to every story. Your side, my side and the truth."

Actually, I'm not sure if it's really Chinese....but I did read that out of an old stale fortune cookie I found under my couch.

Agree with this comment 14 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

zork
Monday, September 27, 2010 @ 11:01:58 AM
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I wont buy activision games and never will ,said that 30 years ago and im saying it again.

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Deleted User
Monday, September 27, 2010 @ 11:28:12 AM

to bad you are missing a really good Spider-Man game in Shattered Dimension. i am really enjoying its the next best thing to Batman A.A

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Underdog15
Monday, September 27, 2010 @ 11:21:02 AM
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It's too bad this type of thing has to happen in our beloved industry. There's no doubt in my mind that everyone has something they've done wrong in this scenario. I'm very interested to hear how it goes down in court.

As for Koticks words, he should probably not talk about it when the issue is being handled in court. Either way, it doesn't make either party look good.

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LightShow
Monday, September 27, 2010 @ 11:25:03 AM
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not so sure its very professional to giving statements about how he was really bummed about the whole ordeal, and that he might have even been emotionally hurt and betrayed.

HELLO?? Isn't this the bobby kotick who we all know doesnt think, at a corporate level, that games and sink manufacture are any different? This guy's a businessman. I doubt he felt any more remorse (or attachment) than a gardener pruning a plant. All this statement is corporate spin, believe it.

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Jawknee
Monday, September 27, 2010 @ 11:42:35 AM
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I'd believe him if Booby wasn't such a snake oil salesman.

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Deathb4Dishonor
Monday, September 27, 2010 @ 11:49:29 AM
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I think the problem is kotick... I mean if it wasn't then why would over 35 ppl up and leave the company... And nobody say they left to go zampella and west new company bc a lot of them just quit and didn't joing the new company... So that just leads me to believe that the problem is Activision and Kotick

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BikerSaint
Monday, September 27, 2010 @ 11:50:09 AM
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Friends? Kotex has friends????

With friends like Kotex, who needs enemies???

He's so self-adsorbing, the nickname Kotex fits him like a latex glove.

Just more spin-doctoring from a over-bearing. egotistical loud-mouth, douche-bag.


Last edited by BikerSaint on 9/27/2010 11:51:16 AM

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Deathb4Dishonor
Monday, September 27, 2010 @ 11:53:53 AM
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Besides... I hope Koticks get F*ucked with this lawsuit... Mayb it will teach him to stop being such a prick and to shut his Yap... I mean, didn't he just diss a bunch of developers saying Bungie was the only small company left that makes good games?... Please... i'd take sucker punch,naughty dog,or insomniac any day of the week...

Last edited by Deathb4Dishonor on 9/27/2010 11:54:53 AM

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hellish_devil
Monday, September 27, 2010 @ 3:34:23 PM

11 thumbs down??

I tihnk some people are very sensitive when talking about clothes =)

Last edited by hellish_devil on 9/27/2010 3:34:36 PM

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Clamedeus
Monday, September 27, 2010 @ 12:33:39 PM
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We all know how Kotick is, a money hungry crazed monster who tries to screw everyone over, and act like it isn't his own fault and tries to shed light on other people who didn't do anything wrong and put a bad light on people.

"It shook my belief in two specific people, who were my friends."

Why would anyone want to be friends with you? If something doesn't go your way you try to sue them or sabotage their reputation.

You are the definition of a scum bag Kotick.

EDIT: I'm sure if Kotick wasn't at the company it would be a better company.

Last edited by Clamedeus on 9/27/2010 12:35:19 PM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Monday, September 27, 2010 @ 1:42:46 PM

The people had to pretend to be his friends, it's as simple as that.

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Clamedeus
Monday, September 27, 2010 @ 2:05:54 PM

And Kotick is pretending he has friends.

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Fane1024
Monday, September 27, 2010 @ 3:41:54 PM

How any developer could be friends with someone who said PUBLICLY that he wanted to treat developers essentially like worker drones is beyond me.

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Clamedeus
Monday, September 27, 2010 @ 5:31:16 PM

@Fane1024

Indeed.

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Alienange
Monday, September 27, 2010 @ 12:47:18 PM
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Calling them his friends puts a certain, I don't know, sad element to this whole mess. I mean let's face it, how many REAL friends does a rich man have? The fact that the people he refers to as friends are basically his employees, and now they've gone and done something that he feels is criminal, well, to me, that makes the whole situation rather sad.

Making games should be fun, not sad. It's the best industry on earth.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Monday, September 27, 2010 @ 1:34:45 PM
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Proof positive he has no idea he is a douche.

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Lawless SXE
Monday, September 27, 2010 @ 1:43:19 PM
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Least said, soonest mended. I can only hope that both parties learn their lessons from this grave mistake. I was going to rant, but not up to it right now.
Peace.

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xnonsuchx
Monday, September 27, 2010 @ 2:08:15 PM
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Truth is usually somewhere between two or more extremes...like the article says, there's probably a lot of blame on both sides. However, Mr. Kotick has made his own reputation for being a massive jerk besides all of that.

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Underdog15
Monday, September 27, 2010 @ 3:00:19 PM
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Kotick has gone on record responding to whether or not he'd make friends or give to charity as saying "Bah, Humbug!"

At least I think that was him... Maybe a close relative?

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Zorigo
Monday, September 27, 2010 @ 4:07:07 PM
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I cant remember anything activision ever saying being good. their devs have been pretty good. but activision.
hold on while i stop tourettes coming through because they are SHCOKING.
so no activision. please just try and make your customers happy.

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Nynja
Monday, September 27, 2010 @ 4:17:49 PM
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As much as I want to slam B.Kotick, I think the media sharing his comments does enough that I can sit back and enjoy this all.

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Clamedeus
Monday, September 27, 2010 @ 6:25:00 PM
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Does anyone remember that Interview with that women that worked at Activision and said he's a nice guy and wouldn't do that, or something along the lines of that.

I'm wondering if her job was on the line for her to say that. Interesting...

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Club80
Monday, September 27, 2010 @ 7:05:16 PM

You mean his former defense attorney who won her sexual harassment lawsuit against him? They guy is scum.

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Clamedeus
Monday, September 27, 2010 @ 7:47:36 PM

It was an attorney? I must of missed that part.

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BikerSaint
Monday, September 27, 2010 @ 8:06:21 PM
Reply

More of kotex's mouthy rhetoric...

Activision's Kotick: Great People Don't Want to Work at EA

http://www.industrygamers.com/news/activisions-kotick-great-people-dont-want-to-work-at-ea/


And here's EA's rebuttal.....


EA Fires Back at Bobby Kotick

http://www.industrygamers.com/news/ea-fires-back-at-bobby-kotick/



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MARNEY
Tuesday, September 28, 2010 @ 12:31:47 AM
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@club80,
the lawsuit he lost against the female lawyer wasn't for sexual harassment, it was for unpaid wages. he was ordered to pay 1.4 million last july. the case that the lawyer was defending kotick on was a sexual harassment lawsuit that was eventually settled out of court. here.

http://www.gamepro.com/article/news/216017/bobby-kotick-loses-lengthy-lawsuit-regarding-unpaid-legal-fees/

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___________
Tuesday, September 28, 2010 @ 4:02:52 AM
Reply

got to love it how he makes it sound like hes the innocent bystander and their the bad guys!
ok, if they are the baddies than A why did you hold back royalties they were entitled 2?
and B why did almost the whole studio leave?
if you have 2 parts to a puzzle, and one leaves than obviously its the other causing the problem.
no?

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SHADOW [Moderator]
Tuesday, September 28, 2010 @ 4:51:40 AM
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I understand all the hatred that gets thrown Bobby's way. I think that some of his ideas are crazy I think the way he handles certain situations (like this one) is a bit sketchy. I think that Blizzivision as a whole is not nearly as creatively interesting as it's competitiors. But at the same time I have an underlying respect for the way Kottick handles himself. There's a certain candidness to the way he addresses the media. We all know that the goal of every major company (gaming or otherwise) is to wring as much money out of it's consumers as possible and to increase their profit margin as high as they can. But in the world of gaming Kottick is one of the only head honchos to be honest about his goals. All of the major publishers are trying to get more money out of us at least Kottick says so straight up.

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Highlander
Tuesday, September 28, 2010 @ 9:07:04 AM

I think you mean "faux-candid". kotick has a certain way of speaking that makes you think he's being candid, but is he? Or, does he just have a message he wants to get out and knows that the faux-sincere, faux-candid delivery is very effective?

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