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Today Is The Day Bobby Kotick Departs His Role As Activision CEO

Gone, but not soon forgotten

While the Microsoft acquisition of Activision Blizzard King has been a monumentally massive event in the gaming industry, there are still large shockwaves to be felt as the dust settles.

One of the outcomes from this mega merger is the official death knell of Bobby Kotick’s time as the grand poobah of the conglomerate of gaming known as ABK – as graceful a retirement as one could hope.

Even for those on the outskirts of gaming news and developments, you have likely seen the name ‘Bobby K’ somewhere during your travels; or one of the myriad of slightly ruder monikers that were assigned to him. Perhaps you have encountered one of his many memorable quotes, including such gems as “The goal that I had in bringing a lot of the packaged goods folks into Activision about 10 years ago was to take all the fun out of making video games.”

Another magnificent quote regarding the pricing of games had to be “Tony, you know if it was left to me, I would raise the prices even further.” Oh boy.

These and many more provided a pretty feverish rallying flag for the gaming public to stand behind. A villain was borne into the general gaming space, with a pretty unfettered glance at what kind of discussions happen in boardrooms; away from the actual development studios.

But he also did some things that were notably less trash – such as his efforts during the COVID19 pandemic, when he gave out his personal phone number to 10,000 workers to encourage them to discuss their health concerns so he can best react to it. From this, he contracted private doctors for the ABK staff and even provided funding for employee drug co-pays. So there is that.

It’s easy to consider that Bobby Kay-Slay has stepped right out of a Disney film, as the moustache-twirling antagonist of all – but as I have grown older and learned more about him, it’s became a little more nuanced than that. K-Dawg is something far simpler, perhaps even more sinister than a stock standard bad guy.

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He is a Businessman. A very, very good businessman.

A piece that delves into Bobbizzle’s history reveals that his acumen for all things business started when he as a toddler – when he sold his mother’s ashtray to a friend for $3USD. From there he hit the grindset and managed to start a pretty successful racket with renting party spaces for kids that were probably too young to be partying. Eesh. As for his passion for gaming? Well, he ditched playing games entirely in college – instead seeing the opportunity for profit.

So really, the point I am making is that it’s easy to imagine Mr. Kotick as the cackling evildoer of this industry. In many ways it is probably downright fun to imagine him comically wringing his hands together and overseeing a devilish plot to somehow brainwash players into depositing funds directly into his pockets, like the roguish scoundrel he is – but the reality of it all is that Bobby K-Dawg moreso operates as a simple, primal force. He looks over the industry that we cherish, and see’s only datapoints and numbers – graph lines and decimal points that all point to a profit margin. He then shapes these as he see’s fit to create his greatest victory: financial success, by any means.

So really, do not direct dislike to the ‘idea’ of Bobby Kotick. It is a concept that is difficult to oust in a capitalism saturated society. Instead, why not direct your righteous anger to more specific things, such as:

And if those aren’t your cup of tea, there is a far simpler thing to muse about while regarding the legacy of Bob.

In a year of colossal studio closures and staff firing, his “goodbye” payout could easily float the operating costs of several large game development studios for a full year. How is that for a fun factoid?

Via Fortune.com:

Activision Blizzard Inc. Chief Executive Officer Bobby Kotick stands to reap more than $500 million after Microsoft Corp. completes its purchase of the video game publishing giant.

In a securities filing on Friday, Activision said Kotick, 59, would receive $14.4 million in severance if he is terminated or leaves under various circumstances within a year of a change of control at the company. Kotick owns 4.3 million shares and has the right to acquire another 2.2 million through the exercise of options, which could potentially be worth $520 million in total at the $95 per-share price that Microsoft is offering.

There’s golden parachutes – and then there are DIAMOND ones.

So with 2023 drawing to a close, we can now look towards a gaming industry that will reflect on what Bo-Kotizzle achieved over his tenure. It’s easy to imagine that his existence was some great cosmic balancing act to try and offset whatever positivity and goodwill was conjured from the emerging gaming community of the 90’s, but in reality it is a lot more mundane than that. It was nothing personal – just business. Spectacularly lucrative business.

So, in closing, Bobby Kotick will be remembered. Not for a lot of good – and perhaps that is quite rightly so. His name will be attached to a great many studies and fact finding missions that reverberate across business practices in gaming for decades to come – with the scant hope that perhaps there is a dialling back on the extreme-ness of his methods to achieve similar successes, but perhaps without the depressing developer outcomes.

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Gaming needs a developer friendly upswing, and this is perhaps the best launching point for such a thing to occur.

Oh and for those that are still figuring out their Bobby K ‘Villain Alignment‘ chart, well: On the scale of villainy, Big Slick Kotick is more akin to something like Galactus – a primordial force of unstoppable hunger, rather than say, The Joker – a maniacal force of chaos.

Do with this information as you will.

Written By Ash Wayling

Known throughout the interwebs simply as M0D3Rn, Ash is bad at video games. An old guard gamer who suffers from being generally opinionated, it comes as no surprise that he is both brutally loyal and yet, fiercely whimsical about all things electronic. On occasion will make a youtube video that actually gets views. Follow him on YouTube @Bad at Video Games

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