Seamus Blackley, the co-creator of the original Xbox, has taken to Twitter to mock Activision CEO Bobby Kotick.
Yesterday, after a pilgrimage of roughly 21 months, Microsoft finalized its merger with Activision-Blizzard-King, with Kotick remaining CEO of Activision through the end of this year. Much has been said about this heavily debated megadeal with Microsoft owning plenty of additional franchises, including Call of Duty, Spyro, Diablo, World of Warcraft, and the Guitar Hero franchise (which may be making a comeback). Shortly before Microsoft closed the deal yesterday, UK regulator CMA announced its approval of the merger. Following this decision, the co-creator of the original Xbox took to Twitter to mock Bobby Kotick for now being bought by Xbox, mentioning “karma”.
“When we pitched Guitar Hero to Bobby, he told us nobody would ever stock it, and turned it down (only to buy it later!”, Blackley wrote on Twitter. “I reminded him that he’d literally said that to me about Xbox only a few years before. He laughed.”
The ‘father’ of Xbox added, “Now he’s being bought by Xbox. Karma is a bitch.”
It has to be said that this isn’t the first time that Blackley called out Kotick on this matter. After his role at Microsoft, Blackley took a role at the Creative Artists Agency to represent video game creators. In that role, he pitched Guitar Hero to Activision. Back in 2021, Blackley already suggested that the Activision CEO turned down Guitar Hero to later purchase the publisher (RedOctane) who published the game. We’ve included a follow-up tweet on this matter from 2021 below:
By the way, I reminded Bobby in the room that day that 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. https://t.co/uvd0Q3FSoE
— Seamus Blackley (@SeamusBlackley) December 15, 2021
Earlier this year, during an Xbox Era podcast, Blackley again talked about his role when pitching the game to Kotick, revealing that he and Kotick aren’t that fond of each other (you’ll find a timestamped video of that part of the podcast here). “With Guitar Hero, they tried to destroy music game franchises, and they largely did – they released like 30 SKUs in one year based on Guitar Hero and they buried it, they strip-mined it to death, and a lot of it was just pure spite because of Rock Band because the way that I had written the contracts for Harmonics with that division was that Harmonics own the IP, and Activision wanted that game”, Blackley said during the podcast.
It’s clear that Kotick and Blackley have a history with each other and that Blackley isn’t that happy with the ‘choices’ that the Activision CEO has made in the past. ‘Entertaining’ stuff for sure – popcorn anyone?