Skip to main content

Kotick not being the boss “will torment him,” one of Xbox’s creators said

Seamus Blackley shares past experiences with the outgoing CEO
  • Author:
  • Publish date:

Since Microsoft has officially acquired Activision Blizzard, it’s become clear that Bobby Kotick will only remain CEO until the end of 2023 and then depart the company he’s led for over 30 years – a change many employees of the company as well as fans of their games welcomed.

One of them seems to be Seamus Blackley, one of the original members of Microsoft’s Xbox project, as spotted by PCGamesN. He wrote on social media that “the man is not a fan of mine” and he “was in his way a couple times,” and recalled some stories about his encounters with Kotick from over the years.

For example, Kotick apparently didn’t believe in the potential of Guitar Hero when Blackley helped Harmonix’s Alex Rigopulos pitch the tech to Activision’s CEO.

Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision Blizzard King.

Bobby Kotick was Activision's CEO for over 30 years.

“When we pitched Guitar Hero to Bobby,” Blackley wrote, “he told us nobody would ever stock it, and turned it down (only to buy it later!) I reminded him that he’d literally said that to me about Xbox only a few years before. He laughed. Now he’s being bought by Xbox. Karma is a bitch.”

He’d already described some of these events back in 2021, but they’ve obviously been given some new relevance now: “By the way, I reminded Bobby in the room that day that he’d also told me – to my face – that Xbox would fail. That didn’t work. Later, to get GH, he literally bought the publisher, Red Octane, not realizing somehow that Harmonix owned the tech. Hence Rock Band was born.”

Blackley concluded: “It’s not being the boss that will torment him. Believe me.”

Clearly, there is little love lost between those two. With Kotick’s aegis at Activision Blizzard coming to an end, this likely won’t be the only instance of stories from his time at the helm coming to light – Blackley himself already alluded to the details of the exodus from key Infinity Ward personnel like Vince Zampella over to Respawn Entertainment being worthy of a book all by itself.

It’s currently unclear what Kotick’s plans are post-Activision Blizzard.