For the first time in ages Activision have wheeled out Bob Kotick to do an interview. Our more senior readers may recall that back in the day Bob gave an interview almost every week and usually ended up saying something delightful inflammatory such as “Our Spider-Man games have sucked for the last five years,” or the classic “All my life I was the rebel flying the Millennium Falcon and then suddenly I wake up and find myself on board the Death Star.”
When Activision noticed the press were picking up on Bob’s rather colourful interviews he was quietly removed from the spotlight and only wheeled out on special occasions. Forbes have now interviewed him, and he’s clearly had a few PR lessons in the intervening years as he doesn’t say anything remotely inflammatory.
However, he does reveal that back when Activision was starting up, cash was in short supply.
“In our early days, being recognised on any list of great companies was hard to imagine,” said Bob. “There were times when we sold the office furniture to make payroll. Twenty-five years later we are the world’s most successful video-game company and one of Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For.”
He also gave his thoughts on virtual reality, a trend that Activision has, by and large, kept their distance from.
“When a new platform emerges we first evaluate whether we can put our best creative foot forward,” he said. “We consider whether we can do something new, innovative, and well differentiated. If we can, we consider it; then we evaluate commercial considerations. We think AR and VR have great potential for new creativity in games, but new platforms take time to build audiences. Establishing new platforms always take a lot longer than people expect.”