Dan Winters, head of developer relations at Activision, believes the public perception of publishing giant Activision is wide of the mark, stressing the firm is not a “monolithic empire” and that its reputation is solely the result of it being the biggest publisher in the world.
“Before our merger with Blizzard, becoming the number one publisher from a revenue perspective, we were always known as the warm and cuddly Activision; the scrappy, loveable number two,” Winters told GI.biz.
"As soon as we became the number one and we develop broader perspectives, perceptions started to change a little bit. We've worked very hard, and continue to do so, to let people know that, you know, we're the same guys, we really are. We haven't changed! I'm the same guy that I was before the merger, as are most of us.
“We're the same organisation. We haven't gone out and hired 3000 people. Our ability to scale and move quickly is the same as it was before. We're not this big, monolithic empire that's making decisions in a dark room, we're still very collaborative. We still have the same healthy respect and appreciation for talent that we ever did."
As we reported last week, senior staff at Bizarre Creations, the Liverpool studio which Activision closed down in February after an unsuccessful attempt to sell the developer on, felt that the atmosphere changed after Activision took over. Winters, however, insists that Activision is relatively hands-off with its subsidiaries.
“With all of our internal studios we have built a process, Bobby [Kotick, CEO] has really done this directly himself, built a process for the independent developer model, that allows them to retain their own culture, their own visibility, their own leadership, really to drive the stewards of the brands. I think those are important pieces of ownership, as it's loosely defined," he said.
"I think that's an important part of people coming in and having a passion and being able to exercise that passion as opposed to going in and being called publisher's name plus location. That takes some of the individuality away from that studio, and maybe some of their ability to personalise, to put in passion and ownership into their studio process. So I think we've done a good job of that through the years."