"warm and cuddly", has said they "haven't changed!" They don't plot the downfall of gamers - honest!
They've "worked very hard" and still do to try and convince us they're friendly and approachable. It's no "monolithic empire"; they respect studio talent.
"It's interesting, before our merger with Blizzard, becoming the number one publisher from a revenue perspective, we were always known as the warm and cuddly Activision; the scrappy, loveable number two," said Dan Winters. EA was top dog and 'hated by all'.
"As soon as we became the number one and we develop broader perspectives, perceptions started to change a little bit." Gamers love counter-culture it seems; the underdog.
"We've worked very hard, and continue to do so, to let people know that, you know, we're the same guys, we really are. We haven't changed! I'm the same guy that I was before the merger, as are most of us. We're the same organisation," said Winters.
"We haven't gone out and hired 3000 people. Our ability to scale and move quickly is the same as it was before. We're not this big, monolithic empire that's making decisions in a dark room, we're still very collaborative. We still have the same healthy respect and appreciation for talent that we ever did." Guitar Hero was 'put on hiatus' this year.
That shocking news followed the sad business of Liverpool-based Bizarre Creations being closed down after Activision couldn't find any party to buy them. Activision is of course most notoriously known for firing Infinity Ward's Vince Zampella and Jason West.
Then there was the Bobby Kotick 'joke' that they want to "take the fun out of making games", which of course backfired as a comment. Winters swears though that Activision promotes studio individuality and respects their team cultures.
"With all of our internal studios we have built a process, Bobby has really done this directly himself, built a process for the independent developer model, that allows them to retain their own culture, their own visibility, their own leadership, really to drive the stewards of the brands. I think those are important pieces of ownership, as it's loosely defined," he said.
"I think that's an important part of people coming in and having a passion and being able to exercise that passion as opposed to going in and being called publisher's name plus location. That takes some of the individuality away from that studio, and maybe some of their ability to personalise, to put in passion and ownership into their studio process. So I think we've done a good job of that through the years."
Are gamers unduly harsh on whoever lands on top of the studio pile, or is all this disdain deserved? Dan Winters claims that True Crime: Hong Kong would have likely been aafter all despite Activision claiming it was subpar at the time.
Activision not a "dark room" empire
14 April 2011 | By Simon Priest
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