In the wake of Activision Blizzard's announcement of record revenue, followed by 800 layoffs, worker rights group Game Workers United has taken to Twitter with a hashtag #FireBobbyKotick, arguing that what is currently happening is theft.
Bobby Kotick is, of course, the CEO of Activision Blizzard, whose recent leadership brought about some really mystifying moves lately, even besides the dreaded announcement of layoffs.
Game Workers Unite reminded that the company paid its new CFO Dennis Durkin a $15 million bonus, right after the layoffs of more than from its European HQ in Cork, Ireland, and before the latest round of 800 layoffs across the globe.
"Upending 800 workers' lives while raking in millions in bonuses for you and your c-suite buddies isn't leadership, it's theft", they wrote on their Twitter.
To better prove their point, Game Workers Unite reached for the example of the late and great, not to mention beloved, Satoru Iwata, whose tenure as CEO of Nintendo had him take a pay cut of 50 per cent. Needless to say, Iwata's $770,000 is peanuts to Kotick's $30 million.
Another painful pill to swallow is that in spite of record revenue and a 9 per cent bump to stockholder values, 800 people are still getting the boot. To add insult to injury, Kotick explained it by saying it's only the personnel unrelated to games, as if that's somehow supposed to make their unemployment more acceptable to gamers.
"The cycle of layoffs continue to derail our industry because of the prioritization of shareholder profits over workers lives and quality game development. If you want to help change the industry for the better, we encourage you to get involved today", Game Workers Unite wrote.
Of course, it's unlikely that this initiative will even come close to costing Kotick his job, but there isn't a better time to turn around and look at the history of just about every other industry out there. If the game industry's workers don't learn from the exploitation practices of old that way, they'll have to do it the hard way. And we do believe we're looking at the hard way.