Weekend(ish) Whammy: What The Hell, Activision?

Okay, okay, I may have missed the weekend there. Punctuality is clearly not my strong point. Once again, though, the weekend has steam rolled through our collective lives, leaving behind a mess of bodies and squashed pizzas. So, let’s chat.

Review code for Codemaster’s new DiRT Rally 2.0 arrived a while ago so I’m currently working on the review for that. The embargoes have already lifted so I can spoil my own work by saying it’s pretty freaking great. You’ll have to wait for the full review for the details, though.

I reviewed some birds in Angry Birds VR: Isle of Pigs which wound up being an entirely okay-ish game. It’s good for a bit of a giggle or just for the kids but outside of that it’s a forgettable, short experience.

I’m also going to be reviewing Crackdown 3. It’s downloaded onto my Xbox One X courtesy of Games Pass, but I’ve not got around to actually firing it up yet. The critical reception so far seems poor, though, and the gameplay I’ve watched doesn’t feel me with confidence. Here’s hoping I’m pleasantly surprised, especially since I have seen a lot of people commenting that they had fun with it.

Metro: Exodus is a bit of a question mark. Review code got allocated and I wasn’t one of the lucky ones, and I’m not sure if I can afford to buy a copy right now. I’ve already got Anthem on pre-order so I can review that and there’s a bunch of other things demanding money.

I’ll also be reviewing a PS VR game named Intruders: Hide & Seek. Its basic but seems to be telling an interesting story, so I’m looking forward to playing some more of it.

This week I also revived an old series from the dead, namely Random Loot which is basically just me gibbering on about any game, movie, book or anything else that I feel like. In this instance I went and revisited The Division and found that its improvements over the years made it a markedly better game. In fact, I’ve found myself jumping on for an hour or two every day just to do a few missions and get some new loot.

I’m considering doing another Random Loot on Prey which I recently picked up during the Lunar sale thing on Steam. Man, I’m really loving it! That’s not surprising considering Arkane made it, the very same folks behind the fantastic Dishonored games. I can’t believe I missed Prey when it first launched in 2017.

The big news of the week comes from the people over at Activision who proudly proclaimed that they had a record year for revenue, taking in 2.4-billion or so. Despite this, though, they apparently did not meet their own crazy expectations. As a result the company laid off over 800 of its workers, citing restructuring as the cause. Unsurprisingly, people were pissed.

Breaking this down further, not only did Activision have a record year on top of its massive growth spanning the last few years due to micro transactions etc. but their share prices have also gone up by 4%. Just last month Activision gave a new high-ranking executive a $15- million signing bonus and a $900,000 salary. The answer to all this massive success? Get rid of people. The end result is more money for the shareholders, more raw profit and the loss of 800 jobs.

The sad thing is massive lay offs like this are commonplace, especially in the video game industry where companies will experience a burst of growth, hire a bunch of people and then fire them all later on. The blunt truth is that this system is working as intended; it’s capitalism, pure and simple. Making a crap-load of money is never enough. They want all the money. All of it. More. It never seems to end.

The video game industry in particuilar seems bad for hiring employees, finishing a game and then tossing them all back out on the street to find new jobs.

In what world should getting rid of 800 people who helped your company achieve its best year to date be the right think to do? Meanwhile, Bobby Kotick, the CEO of Activision Blizzard, continues on in his job while raking in more and more cash. Kotick earns around $30-million per year, not including bonuses. He still has his job, although as I write this #FireBobbyKotick is trending and even various Activision employees have spoken out against the man.

Keep in mind that years ago the renowned Satoru Iwata of Nintendo took a 50% reduction in pay so that his workers would not have to suffer for what he deemed to be his own mistakes. Later he would take yet another 50% pay cut to help ensure the jobs of his employees. He intelligently pointed out that people who were in constant fear of losing their livelihood would be unlikely to create amazing games. But Bobby Kotick, well he just raves about a record year before getting rid of 800 people who must now seek new jobs in a tough industry. I can only hope that they get decent severance packages.

I suppose in some ways Activision Blizzard laying off people shouldn’t be news because it happens all the time across every industry. Companies want to make all the money, after all, and rarely consider the human costs involved. But the fact that it does happen all the time and that it’s rarely news is part of the problem, isn’t it? We ignore it, because it’s normal. It’s just business.

As always folks, thank you so much for reading this and the rest of the blog. If you feel like supporting the site and even helping get Metro: Exodus reviewed click on the Paypal button below to donate some money to the site.

What did you guys play, read and watch this weekend? Let me know!

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