What Not To Do To The Guys Who Have Made You Billions Of Dollars

I haven’t given up on the game industry yet, but it’s really looking like it’s going to be impossible for me to work for any studio that works under a large publisher.

EA have pulled nonsensical stunt after nonsensical stunt in the past, but seem to have calmed down recently. Ubisoft won’t let any of their legitimate customers play their single player games without automated online supervision. And now Activision…

I mean really, let me get this straight: “The Company is concluding an internal human resources inquiry into breaches of contract and insubordination by two senior employees at Infinity Ward. This matter is expected to involve the departure of key personnel and litigation. At present, the Company does not expect this matter to have a material impact on the Company.” (bold emphasis thanks to Dave Taylor)

Billions of dollars. The “insubordinate” dudes made Activision BILLIONS of dollars. There are plenty of other rumors flying around that make the situation even worse (like Activision witholding royalties from the guys who stayed), but forget all that. Let’s look at the fact that ACTIVISION FIRED GUYS WHO ARE WORTH BILLIONS OF DOLLARS FOR “INSUBORDIATION”.

It doesn’t matter how well you do your job. It doesn’t matter how much direct cash you are responsible for your publisher earning. You can be a huge success as a game developer and still get creamed by your publisher because someone doesn’t like your “attitude”. THEY MADE CALL OF DUTY: MODERN WARFARE 2 AND THEY WERE FIRED.

What I want to know is: why should I ever work for Activision? Why should I let myself be put into a position where I can be fired for doing an awesome job but I didn’t kiss quite enough ass? Even EA and Ubisoft are not this foolish.

Oh, and if this turns out to be true: “But what really blows my mind is how Activision treats the people they expect to stay behind. If what I’ve read online is true, they’ve retroactively changed how the royalty stream works so instead of the stream coming 6 months after the game is out (1 quarter to make profit and 1 quarter to ensure you stick around) so that they pay out the royalty over 2 years. With the bonuses getting incrementally bigger, so the largest are at the end.

This is their idea to get the team to stay. Basically holding the bonuses / royalty payments for ransom.”

Then I might well engage in an actual boycott. It’s not like I’ll be hurting the guys who make the game. I’ll only be hurting the guys who collect the money and hoard it and punish those who make the game. So much for Starcraft II…

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