The "Killing Your Golden Goose" Award – Activision

Congratulations on killing your golden goose, Infinity Ward.

GamerNode’s "You Win!" Awards have made a return. This latest award goes out to Activision, one of the biggest publishers in the videogame industry. Activision and their non-gaming CEO Bobby Kotick have earned themselves the "Killing Your Golden Goose" Award, as they have once again mercilessly butchered a prize studio in favor of profits.

The golden goose in this award is Call of Duty maker Infinity Ward. After the success of Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, reports began coming out that Infinity Ward was not being allowed the creative freedom to break away from the Call of Duty franchise. It was believed that Activision was forcing the studio to continue churning out games for the series and were being withheld bonuses already owed to them in order to do so. These actions by Activision were all done so they could once again, like with Tony Hawk and Guitar Hero before it, bleed out their most successful series in order to maximize the company’s profits.

It all came rolling downhill as their grip on Infinity Ward’s freedom led to Jason West and Vince Zampella’s alleged look at Activision’s rival, Electronic Arts, for creative freedom. This led to their release from Activision. The firing of the two studio heads has been like the breaking of a dam as dozens of other Infinity Ward employees have left the studio since the incident, including top talent such as lead character artist Joel Emslie and lead programmer Robert Field. The total departures are now at 35, and the studio is but a skeleton of its former self.

In addition to this, West and Zampella have formed the new studio Respawn Entertainment, whose games will be exclusively distributed by EA. Several employees who have left in the exodus of Infinity Ward have joined West and Zampella at Respawn, essentially making the studio the new Infinity Ward.

Activision also has a pair of lawsuits on its hands regarding the withholding of the owed bonuses in order to keep the Infinity Ward employees hostage. One of the suits comes from West and Zampella, with the other coming from 38 other former and current Infinity Ward employees.

So because you wanted to maximize profits instead of worry about keeping your employees happy, you have lost your best game creators to your biggest rival and have pissed them off enough to sue you, some while still employed. Way to kill your golden goose.

[Mike Murphy]


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Author: Eddie Inzauto View all posts by
Eddie has been writing about games on the interwebz for over ten years. You can find him Editor-in-Chiefing around these parts, or talking nonsense on Twitter @eddieinzauto.

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