Kotick bemused at existing Xbox Live business model

Monday, 5th July 2010 14:40 GMT By Johnny Cullen


Activision president Bobby Kotick has told the FT he’s not happy at current business models for online services like Xbox Live – that take a massive chunk of revenue from third-party content sales.

The boss used the success Modern Warfare 2 map packs have had on Xbox Live as an example, with Stimulus seeing over 2.5 million downloads in its first week.

“We’ve heard that 60 percent of [Microsoft’s] subscribers are principally on Live because of Call Of Duty,” said Kotick. “We don’t really participate financially in that income stream. We would really like to be able to provide much more value to those millions of players playing on Live, but it’s not our network.”

Kotick then added that new games consoles need to have a better chance of getting more revenue.

“We have always been platform agnostic,” he said. “[Consoles] do a very good job of supporting the gamer. If we are going to broaden our audiences, we are going to need to have other devices.”

Xbox Live has over 23 million subscribers. More than 1.7 billon hours of Call Of Duty were played online between November 2009 and April 2010, and Modern Warfare 2 has sold more than 20 million units.

Thanks, Edge.



  1. Blerk

    “How dare Microsoft charge you to play our games online! We want to charge you for playing our games online!”

    #1 5 years ago
  2. Freek

    “We don’t really participate financially in that income stream. ”

    Activission has provided MW2 free to all Live users, aswell as all the DLC. The saints!

    #2 5 years ago
  3. StolenGlory

    This guy is just unbelieveable.

    What a wanker.

    #3 5 years ago
  4. Crysis

    He says PSN yet they don’t charge their users, he’s angry because Sony profits from their DLC, this guys ego has gone way overboard, also 60% of users aren’t on Live because of CoD, 60% of people on Live play CoD, damn egomaniac

    #4 5 years ago
  5. NGCes26294BIV

    Does he TRY to come across as a massive wanker?

    Does he not realise that if CoD wasn’t there, people would just play something else? Halo, Gears, L4D, Battlefield.

    Xbox live doesn’t exist because of CoD, and without Xbox Live, CoD wouldn’t be the beast it is now.

    Kotick needs to get his head out of his ass and realise that just because you like someone else’s business, it doesn’t give you the right to share in their revenue.


    #5 5 years ago
  6. Patrick Garratt

    I’ve taken the PSN mention out. As far as I’m aware he’s just talking about Live.

    #6 5 years ago
  7. Robo_1

    Well at least he doesn’t play any favourites. First it was telling Sony to drop the price of PS3 or lose our support, now it’s to Microsoft, we want a piece of Live’s subscription fee.

    Activision didn’t take any of the risk in setting up Live or PSN, so why should they reap the rewards from them, other than selling their tat through the networks.

    He’s always good for a giggle, but he really is off his rocker if he thinks sixty percent of Live subscribers only stick with the service because of CoD. Ten percent I could believe, but it’s all a moot point anyway. If he wants to be a gate keeper, then they can either go PC only and set up their own network to deal with subscriptions, or he can let Activision piss billions up the wall and get into the console space themselves.

    Yeah, thought not, so fuck off Bobby and go back to being gamings comedy villain…

    #7 5 years ago
  8. Suikoden Fan

    I think he is saying either give him a cut of the live money or make live free (that’ll be the day)

    #8 5 years ago
  9. get2sammyb

    I think he’s got a point. What he’s saying is that a majority of XBOX Live subcribers (60% according to his understanding) subscribe to Live for his company’s game. Microsoft are pocketing that Live money, and he’s not seeing a penny of it, even though his game is driving the sales of it.

    I can kinda see where he’s coming from.

    #9 5 years ago
  10. Erthazus

    @9 Except that it is a Microsoft console and Microsoft Service.
    They can do with it what they want and Bobby can go FUCK OFF and not release Call Of Duty on the Xbox 360.

    #10 5 years ago
  11. Blerk

    Well, not seeing a penny of it apart from the money they charge you for the game. And the rafts of DLC. Both of which are more expensive that their competitors.

    I can seriously see Acti coming up with some kind of subs fee for CoD. And I bet pretty much everyone would pay it too.

    #11 5 years ago
  12. StolenGlory


    Then those who would pay it completely deserve all the ass-fuckery that Kotick bestows on them.

    #12 5 years ago
  13. Blerk

    They’ve got form, though. They put up the price of the game by a fiver, everyone moaned and then bought it. They charged over the odds for the DLC, everyone moaned and then bought it. Subs fee? I’m guessing ‘moan, then buy it’.

    #13 5 years ago
  14. NGCes26294BIV

    “I think he’s got a point. What he’s saying is that a majority of XBOX Live subcribers (60% according to his understanding) subscribe to Live for his company’s game.”

    But they don’t. If that were true, Xbox live subscriptions would have increased by 60% because of Call of Duty. In truth, they’ve gone up incrementally, and actually you can give Halo credit for Xbox Live’s success, not CoD.

    CoD is just another cog in the wheel. Move along now Bobby, join the queue.

    #14 5 years ago
  15. StolenGlory


    I guess that is what differentiates the individual from the flock right?

    But I agree, the zombie massive has set an unhealthy precendent for such behaviour in the first place.

    If folks want to pay out of their asshole for something that they already own with that lovely bit of extra ‘added value’, they will regardless and Kotick will keep on pushing the envelope with what he can get away with.

    The rest of us on the other hand, you know, those of us who can string more than one thought together, likely told the CoD franchise to fuck off as soon as we saw the rip-off pricing for the first DLC pack.

    #15 5 years ago
  16. Freek

    lets also not forget the timed exclusivity deal for DLC in place with MS.
    You think that came for free?

    #16 5 years ago
  17. DeSpiritusBellum

    @13 Indeed. Soaked in tears or not, your dollars are good with ActiBlizz.

    @15 It sounds to me more like you’re just pissed that everybody doesn’t think like you do. I don’t particularly enjoy paying another 10 euro for a game, nor an extra 5 for DLC, but the fact is I enjoy the product, and I can easily afford it.

    Clearly you’re above us zombies and I’m sure everyone will remember you for showing abstinence in the face of such insurmountable pressure, but somehow I’m not so impressed.

    #17 5 years ago
  18. StolenGlory


    Oh, you still do have your copy of MW2?

    +1 to you sir.

    Would you be prepared to pay a monthly fee, (god forbid) if one came into action?

    Don’t you think it is taking things a step too far?

    Or does a high amount of disposable income come with a high amount of disposable common sense too?

    #18 5 years ago
  19. freedoms_stain

    @13, they put up the RRP of the game, but as I recall pretty much everywhere was selling it lower than even standard RRP. Weren’t some supermarkets rolling it out for 20-something quid for the 1st week or so?

    MW2 can be got for for 360 sub £25 new online (marginally sub, but still sub).

    But the DLC is genuinely an absolute rip and most of my hardcore MW2 playing friends have refused to shell out thus far.

    #19 5 years ago
  20. ivycrew707

    Wow he really does come from somewhere else…..will be nice to see MS respond to this…..Sony kinda took his shit, and even tho I don’t do xbox, I wanna hear Greenburg tell him to go f#*k hisself

    #20 5 years ago
  21. DeSpiritusBellum

    @18 See, the thing you’re failing to consider is that it’s all down to personal choice.

    Nobody forces anyone to buy anything. You might not want to buy a game that costs an extra 10 euro, but a lot of other people seem to think it’s well worth it.

    I don’t see anything nefarious in making games that require subscriptions, because paying those fees will still be down to personal choice. The real question is whether the content is worth subscribing to, and just like everybody else I’ll just have to take a look at it, and make my decision based on that.

    You can kid yourself that everyone who makes a choice different to yours is somehow lobotomized or under mindcontrol, but all it does is make you look like a child who isn’t getting his way. People make their own decisions.

    #21 5 years ago
  22. StolenGlory

    ‘You can kid yourself that everyone who makes a choice different to yours is somehow lobotomized or under mindcontrol, but all it does is make you look like a child who isn’t getting his way. People make their own decisions.’

    Indeed, people do make their own decisions and as consumers, for better or worse, it sets cultures and precedents to follow.

    My reference to the ‘zombie massive’ was overly harsh, sure, and I admit to blatant generalisation with that comment.

    Perhaps the speculative discussion should gravitate to what Kotick could offer the average CoD player for a monthly sub, instead of people just being shit on for their choices.

    I therefore apologise.

    From my own perspective though and I must stress this is just my opinion, that it does appear to be just another exercise from Kotick to see how they (Acti/Blizz) can bleed more money from the consumer.

    Tear soaked money or not, your still being taken for a mug.

    #22 5 years ago

    No-one’s forced to pay for any game, just like no-one was forced to pay £100+ for a NeoGeo game or £70 for Turok when the N64 was first released.

    If anything truly is overpriced, consumer demand will almost certainly bring it down to it’s true value sooner or later.

    #23 5 years ago
  24. StolenGlory


    I agree. I guess I just had a bit of trouble seeing the larger, longer-term picture.

    Of course, if such a sub system exists, was grossly overpriced and offered little in the way of additional value folks, would have good reason to boycott it.


    #24 5 years ago
  25. DeSpiritusBellum

    @22 That I can respect.

    Personally I don’t see any obvious way to make a CoD MMO, and for my part it would have to have some serious additional features to warrant a monthly draw on my bankaccount.

    If you’re going to pay hundreds of dollars for a game over a number of months, it should be worth those hundreds of dollars. And I think that’s the reason why 9 out of 10 MMOs aren’t making any real money today.

    #25 5 years ago
  26. Happy Hardon Harry


    I agree, unfortunately most gamers posting on here can’t see past their own shit.

    #26 5 years ago


    I’m not sure if boycotting ever works like that as far as gaming’s concerned. At least I can’t think of an example of a record breaking game that’s had to ‘submit’ to the pressure of unhappy gamers in any significant way…

    I think if Acti managed to charge monthly fees for a future CoD, the only thing that could truly stop people paying for it is probably just a better game.

    #27 5 years ago
  28. polygem

    People like him are responsible for the financial crash. Greedy men will you never learn? I’m sorry for you. Noone will love such a guy. This really goes too far. The guy is nuts. Behaves like a fascist dictator.

    #28 5 years ago
  29. NiceFellow

    Over 20 million gamers bought MW2 at a higher price than other gamers, and the majority went on to buy the overpriced DLC.

    Sorry, but they (you, me, us) are to blame, not Kotick. He’s just looking to maximize profits for his company based on the fact we the consumer have more or less given him carte blanche to do so.

    Similarly the millions who pay for Live on top of paying their ISP for internet access are to blame for the additional layer of cost Live adds (fairly minimal per month as it is).

    If we don’t buy they don’t sell and they change their practices to something that sells.

    If people had started abandoning Live for PSN because it was free to play titles like CoD online do you really think MS would keep charging? Or that now the model has been proven Sony would be joining suit?

    If MW2 crashed and burned because of the price hike do you think Activision would have stuck with the price point?

    No and no.

    In short – it’s our fault, no point blaming the executives taking advantage.

    #29 5 years ago
  30. JimFear666

    Bobby kotick is a troll…

    #30 5 years ago
  31. ekfight

    When everyone was going to boycott the game when the map packs were released i thought “enh, whatever. I play a couple different games online, and this one the most: ill pay it just cause im sure ill get value out of it”

    I can honestly say that if there were ever a fee to PLAY the game itself, thats the day i start playing different games online. I dont even care that Kotick is a money hungry piece of dog shite since hes obviously a businessman, I just dont have the care to spend a monthly fee to play a video game that im ALREADY paying a fee for.

    Aint gon’ happen

    #31 5 years ago
  32. DeSpiritusBellum

    @31 There’s a big difference between a standard retail game and an MMO, however. With the MMO there has to be at least the notion that the game is constantly being added to and built on, and that you’re helping to support that. Otherwise there’s no reason to keep forking it over.

    I could get behind a shooter of the quality of Modern Warfare 2 that constantly got upgraded with weapons, maps, perks, mods and customizable skins.

    #32 5 years ago
  33. hitnrun

    Idiot: “We’ve heard that 60 percent of [Microsoft’s] subscribers are principally on Live because of Call Of Duty”

    If he means that 60%, or even 6%, of Xbox Live subscribers wouldn’t have a subscription if not for Modern Warfare 2, he’s on drugs.

    This is the problem with shooters in general, though particularly anything in arm’s reach of Activision and Bobby Kotick. They’re all interchangeable, and they all think they’re indispensable. It’s much like summer blockbuster action movies. Someone could murder Michael Bay this very evening and Hollywood wouldn’t be devalued one iota; the development money (and crowds) would just flow to another explosion fest.

    FPS is a Flavor of the Month genre. If it’s not one title, it’s another. If Infinity Ward had been erased from the universe between MWF 1 and 2, FPS players would have been grinding hundreds of mindless hours into the same maps of another title.

    Case in point: Infinity Ward has been erased from the universe. Watch what happens this fall.

    #33 5 years ago

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