Video Game CEOs Made Tens of Millions of Dollars in 2020
January 15, 2022
Activision-Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick's salary has been in the news on multiple occasions over the last year. And while he certainly makes significantly more than most, a new report shows that he's in good company, with other gaming CEOs bringing in tens of millions of dollars per year.
Games One has compiled a rundown of video game executive pay in the year 2020 based on company filings, including salary, bonuses, stock, and other monetary benefits. The report reveals that Bobby Kotick was actually not the highest-earning CEO of 2020 — that prize goes to Robert Antokol, CEO of Israel-based Playtika, which makes free-to-play mobile games. In 2020, Antokol made $372 million in total compensation, while Kotick brought in $154.6 million.
While they were far and away the top earners, other gaming CEOs similarly made piles of money that year. EA CEO Andrew Wilson received $34.7 million in 2020, while Zynga's Frank Gibeau earned $32 million. Take-Two (which just announced its intention to acquire Zynga) saw its CEO Strauss Zelnick bring in $18 million.
Other notable names on the list include then-GameStop CEO George Sherman's $7.6 million, Roblox CEO David Baszucki earning $6.8 million, Square Enix CEO Yosuke Matsuda receiving $4.2 million, Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa receiving $2.8 million, and Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot getting just under one million.
In total, the 42 gaming CEOs earned $842 million in 2020. Notably, these are just CEOs for publicly-traded companies who must disclose CEO pay by law. Privately held companies, such as Valve or Epic, don't disclose these numbers, so there are likely a number of equally high-paid CEOs missing from this list.
For comparison, a handful of companies disclosed their median employee compensation. Activision had the biggest discrepancy between CEO and employee pay, reporting a median employee compensation of $99,100 — basically one dollar for every $1,560 that Kotick earns. GameStop was the second-worst discrepancy, reporting a low, low median employee compensation of $11,033, or one dollar for every $650 Sherman earned in 2020.
Gaming CEO compensation has been under scrutiny in recent years. Kotick's pay in particular was cut earlier last year after repeated criticism, though he's still making $875,000 in salary alone before bonuses and other stock benefits. EA similarly cut CEO Andrew Wilson's pay last year.
Rebekah Valentine is a news reporter for IGN. You can find her on Twitter @duckvalentine.
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