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