Robert A. Kotick (born 1963) is an American businessman who serves
Activision Blizzard. He was the head of several
technology companies early in his career. He purchased a stake in
Activision in 1990, and became
CEO the next year. Kotick
Activision Blizzard merger, and he became
CEO of the
combined company in 2008.
He is on a couple of company boards. From 2003 until 2008, he was a
director at Yahoo!. On February 16, 2012, he was elected an outside
director of The Coca-Cola Company.
1 Early life
2.1 Early career
3 Boards of Directors
4.1 Gaming press
5 Personal life
7 External links
Born in 1963 in the United States, Robert "Bobby" Kotick grew up in
New York. He attended the
University of Michigan
University of Michigan in the 1980s.
Kotick began his career in 1983 while he was still in college at the
University of Michigan, when he began creating software for the
Apple II with financial backing from Steve Wynn. Kotick credits
Steve Jobs for advising him to drop out of college to pursue his
entrepreneurial interests in the software business.
In 1987, he tried to acquire Commodore International. He planned to
remove the keyboard and disk drive from the
Amiga 500 and turn it into
the first 16 bit video game system. He was unsuccessful in persuading
Commodore's then-Chairman Irving Gould to sell control of the
company. He subsequently purchased a controlling stake in
Leisure Concepts, Nintendo's licensing agent, which was renamed
Kotick and his partner Brian Kelly bought a 25% stake in
December 1990, and became
CEO in February 1991. Kotick also
served as a founder of International Consumer Technologies and was
President from 1986 to January 1995. In 1995, International Consumer
Technologies became a wholly owned subsidiary of Activision.
At Activision, Kotick set out to build "an institutional quality, well
managed company with a focus on the independent developer." In a 14
June 2010 interview with gaming blog Kotaku, Kotick stated, "…[P]art
of the whole philosophy of
Activision was whether you're owned
outright or not, if you're a studio you have control of your destiny,
you could make decisions about who to hire, flexibility on what
products to make, how to make them, schedules appropriate to make
Kotick engineered the
Activision Blizzard merge, and stockholders of
Activision Blizzard approved Kotick as
CEO of the combined company on
9 July 2008. In 2009, as reported by
Forbes magazine, Robert Kotick
received approximately $3.2 million USD in salary, benefits, options
and incentives for his work with
Activision Blizzard, of which
$953,654 was his actual salary. By 2013, Kotick was the second
CEO in the United States, earning $64.9 million
USD, mostly in stock.
Kotick has used
Activision Blizzard's industry position to push
partners for changes that he maintains would benefit the gaming
community. In July 2009, Kotick threatened to stop making games for
PlayStation 3 platform if
Sony did not cut the price of the
console. Kotick also urged the British government to reward
Activision for continuing to invest in the country's pool of game
developers by providing
Activision with the same kinds of tax
incentives provided by Canada,
Singapore and eastern bloc
countries. Kotick has launched an Independent Games Competition
with $500,000 in total available prize money for small developers
working with new platforms and has stated that "keeping passion in
game development is something that's important to him."
In October 2009, under Kotick’s direction,
Call of Duty
Call of Duty Endowment, a non-profit public benefit
corporation, which helps soldiers transition to civilian careers after
their military service, with a commitment to create thousands of jobs
for veterans including those returning from the Middle East. Kotick
recruited an advisory board composed of veterans representing the
various service branches.
In October 2016, Kotick confirmed the creation of Activision
Blizzard's Overwatch League. In November 2016,
inked a deal with Kotick where he might receive bonuses if certain
financial benchmarks were met concerning M&A. Earlier that that
Activision had acquired companies such as King Digital
Entertainment and Major League Gaming. In late 2016, he was given
a pay hike because the company was performing well, with a
contract that locks him in until 2021. In June 2017 it was Fortune
who said that Kotick had become “the longest-serving head of any
publicly traded tech company.” Under him, the company was still
developing films about its video games, and coming out with new video
game sporting projects.
Boards of Directors
Kotick was also a
Yahoo! board member from March 2003 to August
2008, and is currently a board member for the Center for
Early Education, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Tony
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Kotick has at times been a controversial figure in the gaming
community. In part this can be attributed to advocating a business
strategy focused on only developing intellectual property which can
be, in his words, "exploited" over a long period, to the exclusion of
new titles which cannot guarantee sequels. In responding to why
Activision Blizzard chose not to publish certain games following the
Activision/Blizzard merger, he stated that focusing on franchises that
"have the potential to be exploited every year on every platform with
clear sequel potential and have the potential to become $100 million
franchises" has "worked very well for
Activision Blizzard". Kotick
described this business strategy as "narrow and deep" or
"annualizable" and cited it as key to attracting development talent
who may not be drawn to "speculative franchises". Kotick also
created a stir when commenting on
peripheral-driven franchises. During
Activision Blizzard's Q2 2009
financial results conference, Kotick was challenged over his "comfort
level" around high prices attached to "new games that have some
expensive controllers" and said, "if it was left to me, I would raise
the prices even further." While Spong took the comment at face
value, Gamesindustry.biz thought the comment was a joke, but could
be seen as "insensitive at a time when consumers are likely to be
feeling the economic pinch".
A frequent complaint from the gaming press is the gap between Kotick
and Activision's chief consumers.
Ars Technica editor Ben Kuchera
wrote, "Kotick doesn't play his games, and it shows." Video game
Tim Schafer said Kotick "doesn't have to be as much of a
dick" in his attitude towards Activision's customers. Gaming blog
Kotaku reported, however, that Kotick confessed to a passion for video
games that "has never really gone away," and "rattle[d] off an
impressive list of consoles he's owned in the past and games he
A native of Long Island, New York, Kotick resides in California with
his family. He divorced his wife in late 2012. He had a cameo
role in the 2011 film Moneyball.
^ a b c d e f g "Robert A. Kotick Profile". Forbes.com. Forbes.
Archived from the original on May 25, 2010. Retrieved June 21,
^ a b c d "Coca-Cola – Press Center – Press Releases – Board
Elects Robert A. Kotick as Director".
^ a b c d e f Simon Carless. "DICE 2010: Kotick Talks Passion For
Industry". Gamasutra.com. Retrieved February 18, 2010.
^ a b c d e f Gallagher, Dan. "Kotick changes the game at Actvision
^ Beller, Peter C. (January 15, 2009). "Activision's Unlikely
^ a b c d Brian Crecente. "A Delightful Chat With the Most Hated Man
in Video Games". Kotaku.com.
^ Yukari Iwatani Kane (June 14, 2010). "
Activision CEO: Steve Jobs
Convinced Me to Quit College". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved June 14,
CEO BIO: Robert A. Kotick". Business Week.com. Business Week.
Archived from the original on July 30, 2010. Retrieved June 21,
^ "Investors approve
Activision Blizzard merger". videogamemedia.com.
Video Game Media. Retrieved July 9, 2008.
^ "Executive Pay by the Numbers". The New York Times. June 29, 2013.
Retrieved June 30, 2013.
^ Dan Sabbagh. "
Sony should beware —
Activision chief is not simply
playing games". London: The Times. Retrieved July 19, 2009.
^ Maija Palmer and Tim Bradshaw. "Computer games industry hits at tax
rethink". Financial Times. Retrieved June 30, 2010.
^ Eric Caoili. "
Activision Announces Independent Games Competition".
Call of Duty
Call of Duty Endowment Home Page". Archived from the original on
December 20, 2009.
CEO confirms Overwatch League". ESPN.
^ "Don't Be Surprised When
CEO Does a Big Deal".
Bloomberg. November 29, 2016 – via www.bloomberg.com.
Activision Blizzard’s Kotick set for stock windfall, Financial
Times, November 25, 2016
^ Don’t Be Surprised When
CEO Does a Big Deal,
Bloomberg, November 29, 2016
Activision Blizzard Aims for the Big Leagues, Fortune, June 7,
^ "It's a done deal: Icahn on Yahoo board". cnet.com. CNET. August 6,
2008. Retrieved September 27, 2008.
^ "Are You the Next
Yahoo! CEO?". fool.com. The Motley Fool. June 17,
2008. Retrieved September 27, 2008.
^ a b "Activision: if we can't run a game into the ground, we don't
want it". arstechnica.com. Condé Nast Publications. November 6, 2008.
Retrieved November 7, 2008.
Activision Blizzard SF2Q09 (Qtr End 9/30/08) Earnings Call
Transcript". seekingalpha.com. Seeking Alpha. November 5, 2008.
Retrieved October 20, 2009.
Activision Blizzard Q2 2009 Earnings Call Transcript".
seekingalpha.com. seekingalpha.com. August 5, 2009. p. 8.
Retrieved October 11, 2009.
^ "Activision's Kotick: I'd Raise Game Prices Even More — Bobby
Wants MORE". news.spong.com. August 6, 2009. Retrieved November 7,
^ Phil Elliott (August 7, 2009). "Kotick Jokes About 'Even Higher'
Prices". gamesindustry.biz. Eurogamer Network Ltd. Retrieved November
^ Yin, Wesley (July 14, 2010). "Double Fine's
Tim Schafer Interview
• Page 1 • Interviews •". Eurogamer.net. Retrieved October 19,
^ Kevin Maney. "Game Boy". Portfolio.com.
^ Amy Chozick (December 15, 2012). "At Activision, a Hero and Villain,
Zapped Into One". The New York Times.
^ Luke Plunkett. "What the Fuck is
Bobby Kotick Doing in This Brad
Pitt Movie?". Kotaku. Retrieved June 16, 2011.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Robert Kotick.
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