Robert Bowling Bashed Activision’s Subscription Model in February
Robert Bowling’s resignation from Infinity Ward and Activision earlier this week came as something of a surprise. He isn’t saying what prompted his decision, but a tweeted follow up to his announced resignation, “Whatever adventure is next, I plan on sharing all of it with you, right here,” seems to indicate that not only that he quit and was not fired, but that he doesn’t have another job lined up.
Bowling has been the face of Call of Duty for years, so what was it that led to his sudden departure from the franchise with which he had become synonymous? An interview he gave back in February might provide a clue. While participating in a Machinma livestream first noticed by Call of Duty Map Packs, he called out Activision’s Call of Duty DLC strategy in stark terms. The remarks are rather enlightening, and should be quoted in full:
Old school maps, I love maps like that, I want to see Creek, I want to see Overgrown, I want to see Crossfire, I want to see Highrise.
“So my mentality on it is if you are going to do throw back maps, if you are going to do classic maps, keep it outside of the DLC model. Like for DLC, if you are paying for stuff and it’s included in your subscription, it should all be new content. Give me something new I’ve never seen before, and that’s not something we’ve done in the past before, [when] we’ve included [old maps] in traditional map packs.
“But now, since our DLC model is so different, I feel like we have a flexibility to let DLC be focused on all new content, brand new stuff you’ve never seen before in the game or any game.
“And if we want to do a throwback map, let that be outside the DLC model, let it be free, let it be to everyone. Don’t let it be restricted by contracts and partnerships and all that f*cking money stuff. Let it just be there. So that’s what I think. I want to see the new gameplay experience of Modern Warfare 3 in classic maps.”
“I feel like we are in a f*cking era where everyone is so focused on subscriber numbers and all that stuff that we need to get back to what I feel like we did so much better in the old days of just plain goodwill, like stuff like the LAN patch, yeah it is lower priority but let’s get it out the f*cking door. Let’s just do it.
This could be read any number of ways, but it sure sounds like Bowling was growing tired of Activision’s business model, and these comments were part of his process in deciding what to do. We approve of course, and hope whatever he ends up doing next, it’s the opposite of that.