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$400m Activision versus EA lawsuit gets go ahead

Thu 17 Mar 2011 8:43am GMT / 4:43am EDT / 1:43am PDT
LegalPublishing

Judge upholds three of four complaints as Activision goes after Zampella and West

Activision Blizzard

Headquartered in Santa Monica, California, Activision Blizzard, Inc. is a worldwide pure-play online...

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Activision will be allowed to go ahead with three of its four legal claims against rival Electronic Arts, with up to $400 million at stake over the actions of Infinity Ward heads Jason West and Vince Zampella.

Without ruling on the merits of the case, California Superior Court Judge Elihu Berle agreed that Activision had provided enough evidence for the lawsuit to continue, according to a Bloomberg report. The trial is now provisionally scheduled for May.

Activision accuses EA of helping West and Zampella to breach their contract and that EA received confidential information from the pair.

Activision accuses EA of helping West and Zampella to breach their contract and that EA received confidential information from the pair

The claims were originally filed by Activision as a counter to West and Zampella's own $36 million lawsuit against Activision, which claimed they had been sacked purely to avoid making royalty payments on Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.

38 other ex-Infinity Ward employees also added themselves as plaintiffs, accusing Activision of holding them "hostage" by withholding agreed payments until the completion of Modern Warfare 3 (thought to be due for release this year).

EA was added to Activision's lawsuit in December, when Activision accused its publishing rival of unlawful conduct "at the highest levels". EA's attempts to have the suit dismissed on a lack of evidence have so far failed.

Activision though insists that, "Electronic Arts conspired with two former senior Activision executives [West and Zampella] to derail Activision's Call of Duty franchise, disrupt its Infinity Ward development studio, and inflict serious harm on the company."

West and Zempella did subsequently set-up new development studio Respawn Entertainment with the help of EA Partners. The studio has yet to reveal its first game.

12 Comments

Terence Gage Freelance writer

1,288 120 0.1
This is going to get very messy. And, judging from comments made by EA folk directed at the COD series, probably quite bitchy too. I assume W&Z will be supported financially by EA, but it could end up costing them dearly if it's proven that they conspired with EA against the COD series.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Terence Gage on 17th March 2011 10:59am

Posted:3 years ago

#1

Adam Ross

18 0 0.0
Things are turning to political in the industry these days..

Posted:3 years ago

#2
It will be interesting to see whether Respawn launch into the FPS market segment and take COD head on. From an outsiders perspective though I think that Activision and probably also West & Zampella have become more focused on money and less interested in delivering a quality gaming experience and judging by the quality of the first few previews of Battlefield 3 it seems to me that both parties should probably focus their attention on developing better games for the consumers instead of suing each other.

Posted:3 years ago

#3

Frankie Kang Producer / Consultant, First Post LLC

39 1 0.0
This would make a good movie, no?

Posted:3 years ago

#4

Edward Buffery Pre-production Manager

149 96 0.6
Things have probably always been political, but back in the old days when there was less money being thrown about and smaller legal departments, it just wouldn't drag out so long and generate so many updates.

Posted:3 years ago

#5

Terence Gage Freelance writer

1,288 120 0.1
@ Frankie

I can see it being like A Few Good Men, with Jason West (played by Ryan Reynolds, or maybe James Franco) screaming into Bobby Kotick's face "You want the truth? You can't handle the truth!!". I imagine Kotick would be played by Steven Seagal.

Posted:3 years ago

#6

Rick Cody PBnGames-Board Member

144 14 0.1
If Activision was good to their employees why would they talk to EA? If they paid them fairly, based on their sales numbers and record breaking profits, I don't think they'd be inclined to part.

Posted:3 years ago

#7
*Go grab some more pop-corn*

Posted:3 years ago

#8

Alan Wilson Vice President, Tripwire Interactive

30 52 1.7
Oh, this will be SO much fun to watch!

Posted:3 years ago

#9

Jamie Watson Studying Bachelor of Games & Interactive Entertainment, Queensland University of Technology

179 0 0.0
this is going to be fun!

whats are the odds?

i hope with this lawsuit EA doesnt stop with the delvopment of Battlefield 3 been epic!

Posted:3 years ago

#10

Stephen Woollard Online Infrastructure Specialist, Electronic Arts

146 71 0.5
@Jamie - nothing will stop BF3 :-)

Posted:3 years ago

#11
Yes, sounds like a prime time movie to me!!! :)

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Aldo Hernandez on 19th March 2011 11:34am

Posted:3 years ago

#12

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