Editor's note: Can you trust email from the future? I'm willing to bet that universal dislike for Nickleback has a high probability of occurrence. Maybe Activision should have released Guitar Hero: Pickle instead. Are you listening, Kotick? This is your chance to save your job! -Rob
Somehow — don't ask me — I received the following article in my email inbox. The date was some 10 years hence (a year when jokes about how well people see run rampant across the interwebs) and covers a company making all the wrong calls from a public-relations standpoint. Enjoy….
Where are they now?
April 10th, 2020
Associated Press Writers
Onlookers spotted Bobby Kotick, ex-CEO and president of video game publisher Activision, last week at his car-wash job in Seattle, Washington. Although it seems amazing, this man once controlled the biggest franchise in the business, a position now held by mega-corporation 2K Square Enix EA Micro-Ubi-Soft, Inc.
Activision's troubles began in the late part of 2010 (a time when people could see extremely well) after Infinity Ward, creators of the Call of Duty series, dissolved completely through the loss of over 80 percent of their staff. The remaining employees went to work for Treyarch, but their hearts just weren't in it anymore after producing Call of Duty: Conflict at Falkland Islands.
Soon after, the once great franchise was usurped by former Infinity Ward employees and their new studio, Respawn Entertainment, whose new game/experience/piece of art became so ubiquitous in our lives that naming it here is unnecessary. Even acclaimed movie critic Roger Ebert, a long standing opponent of classifying games as art, wept in tears at the ending of the "game," stating, "It's so amazing, words fail me…."
Truly, Kotick's decision to fire Infinity Ward heads Vince Zampella and Jason West had a marked effect on Activision, but it was just one of many mistakes in the company's history. After butchering their skateboarding series with Tony Hawk Ride 2: Ride Harder, Neversoft quietly announced its bankruptcy and left the video-game industry completely. They now make purses in Dubuque, Iowa of varying quality (it is widely held that they peaked on their third line of handbags, but new models keep coming out every year).
Finally, with only one annual franchise left to sustain them, Activision executives crossed the line when they announced Guitar Hero: Nickelback, thus causing a mass exodus — not only from their many Guitar Hero development studios (five at that time) but from the company as a whole.
Said one secretary in a now famous YouTube clip, "F*%$ you Mr. Kotick! I'll not be filing your s&$^ anymore, nor answering your calls! " The rest of the employees left much more quietly, though it is rumored that many left flaming bags of dog crap on Mr. Kotick's front-door step for years afterward. Some also egged his house, while others merely left Post-It notes on the window of his hover car stating: "How about Guitar Hero 9? Think we should put it out just a week after number 8?"
Oh, how the mighty have fallen. For those interested in contacting Mr. Kotick, he works 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. most weekends and all day on weekdays at his car wash, Kotick's Kleen Kars. His staff will clean your car fairly well once, then offer to do it again in 2 hours at a much higher price.
Startling, isn't it? Think it's real or just a meta-joke? Only time will tell how prophetic this email will be….