on Apr 30, 2013
For various reasons, we had to move our recording to Saturday night this week, which meant Ruts couldn’t make it. Jarenth was nice enough to step in and act as the guy that never gets a word in edgewise. Thanks Jarenth!
00:40 What’s everyone playing?
Shamus is playing…
12:40 Don’t Starve
28:30 Bad SimCity news of the week. YES, THE NIGHTMARE IS NEVER-ENDING.
59:00 Bobby Kotick got (or gave himself) an 8-fold raise.
I would like to avoid this as much as possible. Let’s stick to salaries as they relate to the games industry, and see if we can’t steer clear of politics. We all know that that argument turns out.
And because I’m being careful: When I was talking about “getting the incentives pointing the right way”, I think I muddled what I was saying. I think a better analogy is this: You pay your bodyguard more than your cook. You do this not because being a guard is more physically demanding (guards stand around) requires more training (your cook has a master’s degree in culinary arts) or because of seniority (your cook has been with you longer) or personal need (your cook has a family and your guards are mostly single guys) or any other difference between the two jobs. You pay the guards more because it’s personally dangerous if they turn on you and you want to ensure their loyalty.
Now, is it worth it to Activision to pay Kotick the budget of an entire AAA game every year? I suppose that’s where the discussion is. I’d love to see the business case for it. In any case, if Kotick was an exceptional leader I wouldn’t be griping about how much he makes. But he’s not.
ALSO – and I realize I’m really perverting the idea of “show notes” here by writing an entire article worth of footnotes – Chris brought up the Moneyball movie. I want to point out that the book had a huge impact on my perception of how business worked. The book set in motion a lot of ideas that led to my current writings on EA. I realized that it was possible for large groups of well-compensated and well-educated business people to be absolutely wrong about something for a very long time. I realized that the dispassionate, detached, and analytic eye of an engineer could be just as useful in business as it was in software engineering. Or even fast food.