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Robert A. Kotick is the current CEO and president of Activision Blizzard, and was previously the CEO for the original Activision from February 1991 until the merger with Blizzard in July 2008. Prior to his work at Activision, Kotick served as CEO to 4Kids Entertainment, and was also a founder of International Consumer Technologies. Kotick is also part of a variety of foundations including the Tony Hawk Foundation. Kotick has also worked for Yahoo and Adobe. As if that weren't enough, Robert Kotick will have a minor role in "Moneyball" alongside Brad Pitt. In 2010, his yearly salary was of $1,009,673.
There has been much controversy about the direction of Activision. Gamers tend to regard Kotick as the devil, prioritizing investors instead of gamers, and accusing him of taking popular franchises and running them into the ground with endless iterations. This, however, has worked out for him, at least sales-wise, as Activision Blizzard is currently the number one video game publisher in the business. Kotick is also known for his unusual business methods, having gone on record in Septermber 2009 about how he wanted to take all the fun out of video games and create an aura of fear:
I don't think it is specific to video games. I think that if you look at how much volatility there is in the economy and, dependent upon your view about macroeconomic picture and I think we have a real culture of thrift. And I think the goal that I had in bringing a lot of the packaged goods folks that we brought in to Activision 10 years ago was to take all the fun out of making video games.
Kotick later said at a February 2010 conference that those words were not completely serious, and were intended to reassure investors.
Sometimes that commitment to excellence, well, you can come across as being like a dick. And when I say things like "taking the fun out of making video games," it was a line that has been often-quoted lately, but it was a line I used for investors. It was mainly because I wanted to somehow come across in a humorous way that we were responsible, in the way we made our games in that it wasn't some wild west, lack of process exercise and that we really did give some thought to the capital being used to provide a return of investment to shareholders. So I say things like "taking the fun out of video games" knowing full well that all we're actually trying to do is keep the fun in the process because, as most of you know, when you're getting into crunch time it becomes really difficult to meet those milestones or get things polished the way you would like, that isn't a lot of fun. That is not what I meant by it.