EA Take-Two: What About the Citizens?
In a further expression of his city state model, John R. told the BBC Rockstar is a "rockstar." BBC story. This is a nice sound bite, but I think he is taking the whole city state analogy too far, or maybe not far enough. The power of the city state is derived from its citizens. The same can be said of a game developer. Every night the company's assets ride down the elevator, or in the case of a game developer, go to sleep under their desk.
John tells the BBC " What we are attracted to is what we value in our own studios: great developers and great intellectual property." But I don't think he really knows what a developer is. In the same interview he said "If the wrong guy walks out, we have an issue to deal with, But we don't stop making games." He does acknowledge his respect for Sam and Dan Houser and Leslie Benzies, but he also said he had no fear that the value EA placed on Take Two would be damaged if they left. These men are not the producers of the property, they are the life blood. People make games, companies don't.
While giving lip service to the concept of the city state he is espousing the attitude which led to the demise of Westwood, Origin, Bullfrog and all the other studios named in his DICE mea culpa. If Sam, Dan and Leslie leave, the others who believe in them will leave as well. The only thing left will be a studio called Rockstar. Sound familiar?
If you go back and read the press around the Activision Blizzard merger, you see Bobby Kotick talking about conversations with Mike Morheim. He spoke with him, talked about how things would work out and the importance of Blizzard. In other words, made sure he would keep him. It is scary when I point to Activision for evidence of good behavior, but this should show how extreme John's statements are.
John, isn't it time to pick up the phone and call the boys?