Thursday, July 15, 2010

No such thing as bad press



If you want to promote something or generate interest in anything you may be working on, start a flame war! It seems to be the thing to do these days. Doublefine's Tim Schafer once again speaks his mind on Activision and it's helmsman, Bobby Kotick. Now we all know that Kotick is probably the most hated man in the industry right now, and who better to lob insults at him than jilted developer, Tim Schafer. However, we all know that there's no such thing as bad publicity.





First is Schafer's initial statement to Eurogamer via interview. The first quote is taken from Kotaku.
His obligation is to his shareholders," Schafer tells Eurogamer. "Well, he doesn't have to be as much of a dick about it, does he? I think there is a way he can do it without being a total prick. It seems like it would be possible. It's not something he's interested in."


"He [Kotick] makes a big deal about not liking games, and I just don't think that attitude is good for games in general. I just don't think we're an industry of widgets," he adds.
"We can approach it like we approach bars of soap, where you're just trying to make the cheapest bar of soap. He definitely has that that kind of widget-maker attitude. I don't think he's great for the industry, overall. You can't just latch onto something when it's popular and then squeeze the life out of it and then move on to the next one. You have to at some point create something, build something."
"Hopefully he'll go back to another industry scene. He could go to an industry that makes more money. Ball bearings… something that suits his passions more. Weapons manufacturing?"

Just to wash all that media spin out of it, Here's the actual interview in context.


Eurogamer: If you had the opportunity to work with Activision in the future, would you say, 'No chance?'

Tim Schafer: I never actually talked to them, really! I never actually met them, it was all lawyers. They did not... I don't know what to say about those guys. I don't want to get sued again.
It's a small industry. You don't want to burn any bridge because you never know. But once somebody sues you... Maybe that bridge is pretty burned. 

You can't waste your time getting mad at a company, because a company doesn't really exist. A company's just an idea. It's like, in the old days I used to be really loyal to companies. I used to be really loyal to Atari growing up because I had an Atari computer, and I was constantly confounded by the different choices they were making. 

I was like, 'Oh! Why is my loyalty not being rewarded?' And then I realised, oh, that's because I'm being loyal to a collective corporate structure, which is absolutely meaningless. So, hating Activision, loving Atari, it's all the same thing. There are people over there I hate, don't get me wrong.

Eurogamer: What do you think about Bobby Kotick? He's a person.

Bobby Kotick. He's a person.
Tim Schafer: He is. Well, allegedly. Ah... I don't know.

Eurogamer: I'll tell you what I think.

Tim Schafer: What do you think?

Eurogamer: I think he's a bit misunderstood because he's trying to make lots of money when people think he has an obligation to make gamers happy.

Tim Schafer: His obligation is to his shareholders. Well, he doesn't have to be as much of a dick about it, does he? I think there is a way he can do it without being a total prick. It seems like it would be possible. It's not something he's interested in.

Eurogamer: Why should he care?

Tim Schafer: Well, he makes a big deal about not liking games, and I just don't think that attitude is good for games in general. I don't think we're an industry of widgets. I don't think we can approach it like we approach bars of soap, where you're just trying to make the cheapest bar of soap.
Modern Warfare 2 pleased more than just the shareholders, to be fair.
He definitely has that that kind of widget-maker attitude. I don't think he's great for the industry, overall. You can't just latch onto something when it's popular and then squeeze the life out of it and then move on to the next one. You have to at some point create something, build something.

Eurogamer: Do you remember when he was quoted as saying, 'I want to take all of the fun out of making games?'

Tim Schafer: I've never understood the context of that. What did he mean by that?

Eurogamer: I've heard Blizzard describe it as a joke that didn't come off.

Tim Schafer: Isn't that what politicians say every time they make some sort of racist joke or inappropriate comment? They're like, 'Oh, that was just my lame attempt at humour.' Because everyone's willing to believe they have a bad sense of humour. 

I don't understand why he would want to do that. Hopefully he'll go back to another industry soon.

Eurogamer: He's too successful.

Tim Schafer: He could go to an industry that makes more money. Ball bearings... Something that suits his passions more. Weapons manufacturing?
Personally, I think that statement would be like telling someone they shouldn't act like a total prick if they want to do their job in running a video game oriented business, however Kotaku's spin doctors make it sound like he's actually calling Kotick a total prick. Activision's PR people respond with this

"Tim Schafer's comment that Bobby Kotick 'makes a big deal about not liking games' just isn't true," Maryanne Lataif, Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications at Activision Blizzard said in a (honest to god) statement. "Bobby has always been passionate about games, and loves the video game industry. But as CEO of a company that makes games enjoyed by millions of people worldwide, the demands on his time now make it difficult to play games as often as he'd like to or as much as he once did."


That's actually good PR work deflect any negativity that's being spun about anything concerning your own CEO. Sure Kotick has feelings too, right? ....right? ...

Of course this ends up with Tim feeling like he's the badguy for speaking his mind, and now he's going back on what he said.

"That was an accident," Schafer told website Eurogamer. "I was going to change the title of my talk to 'how to give interviews and remember to check the microphone is off.'"
Continuing, he added, "I need to keep my mouth shut. It is shocking how you really burn bridges in the industry. You start your own company and you don't have to work for that jerky boss any more. Not naming names."

Who ever could he be talking about? The mystery!

"Then it's like Empire Strikes Back — you walk in the room and, 'Holy shit Darth Vader's at the table.' It's such a small industry, you see the same people over and over again. No-one ever goes away."
 Yeah but in that case Bobby didn't absorb your blaster fire and force snatch your gun away from you, leaving you to be taken off to Jabba in a carbonite bathtub. You just told him that he shouldn't have to act like a prick, despite the fact that you never really met him, and don't know if he's a prick, but circumstances pretty much gave you that impression.

I do understand the whole nature of business where you have to keep your composure and not burn bridges, but I also feel that you have to at least stand your ground. Activision said they were going to do something, and they decided against doing it, and then turned around used litigation to try to keep EA from publishing your project. I would be a little ticked about that, myself. So something Tim said was taken out of context , blown up larger than life and now he feels like it got spun out of control.

Personally, I don't think there's really any love lost between these two guys anyway, but if this does anything it just proves that the bad press of this incident will turn into good press for Schafer's future projects. So there you go rattle some cages, and bam instant publicity for whatever you're working on. But you don't have to take my word for it. Ba-dah-dah

Source(s): Kotaku , Eurogamer

1 comment:

  1. Sad to see someone speak their mind one moment, only to slither down the next and be all measely-mouthed.

    It's like going to a philosopher who you hear says profound things, only you read between the lines and find out that what they say is absolute drivel.

    It's like seeing a model on a magazine and admiring their looks, only to find out that the cover is shopped so much that when you finally meet that person in real life, it's the equivalent of The Matrix Reloaded.

    Yeah.

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