Kotick: EA canâ??t keep top devs happy

Kotick: EA canâ??t keep top devs happy

By Rob Crossley

September 27th 2010 at 1:08PM

Activision boss says rivalâ??s hope to create studio independence is futile

Electronic Arts’ bid to satisfy its developers’ need for autonomy is doomed to fail, says the boss of the firm’s closest rival.

Activision CEO Bobby Kotick went as far as saying that EA’s biggest challenge is as simple as it is devastating: “Great people don’t really want to work there.”

EA has in the last two years aimed to give its studios more autonomy – to foster greater creative ownership within its development outfits.

Kotick, whose company has championed this model, believes EA’s plan simply won’t work.

“The thing is, it doesn’t work that way - you can’t be a floor wax and then decide that you’re going to become a dessert topping," he said in an exclusive interview with Edge.

“That doesn’t work, it’s your DNA. EA’s DNA isn’t oriented towards that model - it doesn’t know how to do it, as a culture or as a company, and it never has.“

Interspersing his attack with a kind word to say about the Madden team, Kotick continued:

“It’s like, if you have no other option, you might consider them. The team that makes Madden is a really great team, it’s been able to manage, capture and keep some good people. But we have no shortage of opportunity to recruit out of EA – that’s their biggest challenge: its stock options have no value.

“It’s lost its way. And until it has success, and hits, and gets that enthusiasm back for the company, it’s going to have a struggle getting really talented people, which is going to translate into less-than-great games.”