Kotick's been running Activision forever, but yeah, it seems as if recently he's forgotten what R&D is in gaming. It isn't new technology, it's new studios and new game types. You need to take some risks to open new markets. If they don't pan out they don't pan out, but if you're smart some will.
Big publishers need an entirely new innovation method. They're spending too much time chasing trends and not enough time trying to create them. The trends they had created are drying up (mostly) and they don't have new ones waiting in the wings.