29 Sep

Combined with his comments concerning Tim Schafer, Activision head Bobby Kotick appears to be cleaning house on all the former headlines his company has faced. Again speaking to Edge magazine [via Develop] (the front lines in his battle with both Schafer and Electronic Arts), Kotick spoke on former Infinity Ward heads Jason West and Vince Zampella, specifically the circumstances regarding their (and 35 other designers’) departure and subsequent opening of Respawn Entertainment over at EA.

“The frustrating thing about that is, the stuff that these guys did, I would have never expected them to do,” he said in the latest issue of Edge. “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.”

Kotick continued, “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.”

2 thoughts on “Kotick: Former IW Heads Could Have Been Jailed”

  1. Now I wonder if Mr. Kotick will go to jail for holding West and Zampella’s bonus money as well as giving that money as a bribe to the people that stay. See, unlawfully garnishing wages and giving that money to people who weren’t supposed to get that money can result in some nasty jail time as well as huge monetary fines. Man I really can wait for this case to get to court so Kotick can get served with that nasty verdict for bad corporate actions.

    1. Except ‘bonuses’ aren’t ‘wages’, and there are no legal requirements to offer them. That is exactly WHY they are called bonuses. If they were contractually obligated, they wouldn’t be bonuses. A bonus is something that is given voluntarily by the company as a reward for good actions on behalf of a sub-organization, team, studio, or employee.

      So no, he did nothing unlawful in that. He took money that they no longer deserved, and gave it as a reward to those who didn’t follow them, and thus did deserve it.

      I may not agree with some things Activision has done, and Kotick may be a money-grubbing CEO. But I wouldn’t have given West and Zampella any bonus money after all of the badmouthing they did even if they’d stayed with the company, much less after the falling out that happened.

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