May 17, 2012
Activision Pays $42 Million To Settle Electronic Arts Court Case
An on-going legal battle between gaming giants Activision Blizzard and Electronic Arts (EA) has been partially settled. The legal tussle initiated by Activision accused EA of improperly recruiting two executives who oversaw the creation of the smash video game “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2."
“Activision and Electronic Arts have decided to put this matter behind them,” Activision lawyer Beth Wilkinson said yesterday after a hearing in Los Angeles Superior Court.
The settlement announced this week does not close all of the disputes, however. Activision and dozens of former “Call of Duty" developers claim they have been cheated out of millions in bonuses for the blockbuster military game, reports Anthony McCartney of the Associated Press (AP).
Activision had accused Electronic Arts of disrupting Infinity Ward by trying to lure away high-ranking executives at the Infinity Ward studio that produced several successful “Call of Duty´´ games while they still had two years left on their contract. West and Zampella sued Activision after they were fired and are asking more than $1 billion in damages.
“Activision dragged EA into the case hoping to distract from Activision´s wretched conduct towards West and Zampella,” Robert Schwartz, a lawyer for the two developers, said yesterday in an e-mailed statement to Bloomberg.
“In dismissing EA today, Activision admits that it was never going to convince anyone that EA conspired with West and Zampella to breach their contracts or did anything else improper.”
Zampella and West in their complaint allege that Activision strung them along with false promises of royalties and creative control so that they would complete Call of Duty the game that helped Activision leapfrog EA as the largest video-game publisher.
In a regulatory filing in early May of this year, Activision said that the developers´ damages claim has increased to more than $1 billion, from the $36 million the two sought in unpaid royalties when they first involved the court two years ago, reports Edvard Pettersson for Bloomberg.
In its counterclaims, Activision sought to hold Redwood City, California-based EA and the two developers liable for $400 million in damages from delays and disruptions at Infinity Ward.
Activision is also seeking details about Zampella and West´s work for EA on a new game that has not yet been revealed. Activision claimed the pair had discussed creating a science-fiction shooter intended to challenge the “Halo´´ franchise, but instead of delivering that game, gave it to EA.
Superior Court Judge Elihu Berle on Wednesday refused a request by Activision to delay the trial on the developers´ claims, which is scheduled to begin at the end of this month.
Activision´s Attorney Beth Wilkinson had requested a month long delay to prepare for the trial, which will feature dozens of witnesses and thousands of pieces of evidence. Wilkinson told the court Tuesday that Activision has paid $42 million in bonuses to “Modern Warfare 2´´ developers suing the company but that did not constitute a settlement.