MMO Business Roundup: Overpaid gaming CEOs, FTC’s lootbox workshops, and why online launches are trainwrecks

Kick it down the road.

Welcome back to another MMO Business Roundup, where we check in on all your favorite flaming dumpster fires in the gaming business world.

The 2019 As You Sow report on most overpaid CEOs is out, and you bet it includes some video game company bosses. Activision-Blizzard’s Bobby Kotick is ranked at 45 with over $28M annual pay – not a great look given the company’s mass-layoffs following a record revenue year. EA’s Andrew Wilson clocked in at 98 with $35M. (The watchdog group calculates the rankings not based on the pay alone but on multiple factors, including shareholder return – via Gamasutra.)

Did you think the FTC was blowing smoke when it agreed to commit to an investigation on the effects and impacts of lootboxes in video games last year? Well it might still be, but it’s since announced it’s going to hold public workshops on the issue in 2019, with the goal of bringing together “consumer advocacy organizations, parent groups, and industry members” for discussion.

Finally, GamesRadar has a solid piece up interviewing multiple devs on what the heck almost nobody can manage to launch an online game without a total trainwreck – something every veteran MMORPG player is well acquainted with. Devs from companies like EA, Massive, BioWare, and even old Gazillion argue that it isn’t always an issue of insufficient server hardware or capacity anymore; login bottlenecks are often the real problem in a world where you can pop up a new Amazon server in a few minutes. ISP issues, server pipeline bugs, or even memory leaks can throw a wrench in the works, and not even the biggest company in the world can simulate the crush of live players in testing.

With thanks to Serrenity and Ben!
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