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Activision sues Electronic Arts, seeks $400 million over Infinity Ward [Updated]

Vincent Zampella and Jason West The corporate warfare between Activision Blizzard and Electronic Arts is getting hotter than a hand grenade.

Activision on Tuesday pulled EA into a lawsuit it had filed in April against two prominent game developers that Activision had fired in March. The developers, Jason West and Vincent Zampella, had created Activision's blockbuster Call of Duty franchise as heads of Infinity Ward, a studio Activision bought in 2003.

In the amended lawsuit, Activision names EA as a defendant, accusing the Redwood City, Calif., publisher of hatching a secret plot to "destabilize, disrupt and ... destroy Infinity Ward." The lawsuit accused EA of working through talent management firm Creative Artists Agency to "hijack" West and Zampella from Infinity Ward, based in Encino.

EA spokesman, Jeff Brown, in an email sent Tuesday night, said, "This is a PR play filled with pettiness and deliberate misdirection. Activision wants to hide the fact that they have no credible response to the claim of two artists who were fired and now just want to get paid for their work."

Activision sued West and Zampella for breach of contract a month after it fired them. The two later formed Respawn Entertainment and began work on a game that Electronic Arts agreed to publish. They also filed a lawsuit against Activision, alleging that their former employer had improperly withheld from them millions of dollars in royalty payments from their last game, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.

In its amended complaint, Activision sought $400 million in damages and penalties from EA, West and Zampella.

A call to Activision was not immediately returned Tuesday night.

Updated, 10:18 pm: This post was updated to include a response from Electronic Arts.

-- Alex Pham

Photo: Vincent Zampella (left) and Jason West. Credit: Los Angeles Times.


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Comments () | Archives (9)

EA ruined the James Bond PC game and has the worst website imaginable.

Who cares...

Last thing EA needs. I wonder what the future holds for EA, given how poorly their games are doing. And then, the CEO proclaims that one player games are dead in the genre, even though Red Dead, GTAIV, a ton of Nintendo games, Alan Wake (won Time Magazine's game of the year) and a slew of others continue to garner praise and/or tons of sales.

As a gamer and investor in this space, the more EA speaks and the more they look stupid. ATVI can do what it wants, as it hits its EPS out of the ballpark...even TTWO. But ERTS? They're busy doing SQUAT. I'm not sure how any game developer would ever want to work with them, given their track record of recent failures.

Geez...I really hope Activision loses this stupid suit and finally get what they deserve. They treat their employees terrible and what they did to West and Zampella was unconcionable.

esb, who cares? When EA and Activision are 2 of the 5 studios that carry a $30b+ industry, any person with any sense cares. Of course, I suppose you have better things to worry about than things that affects tens of thousands of employees around the world.

I've had a problem with EA since they HIJACKED NFL games. This is a long time coming...


The arrogance of the Prez at Activision is tiring. The complete lack of respect that Activision has for its employees and customers is blatant.

After the disaster called Black Ops I will never buy another Activision product again.

Can't wait for BF3 EA. Keep up the good work!

Heh... the first 3 comments must have been from Activision employees. Esb.. how do you figure that this is the "last thing EA needs"? The article was basically pointing out that this would actually be more of a "last thing" Activision "needs". Their entire lawsuit is an ovious last attempt of desperation. With the 2 guys who created the Call of Duty series having been fired and now; Activision won't be able to suck on that money teet anymore, no matter what they release. Look at Black Ops... looks like the graphics took a step backwards, and the gameplay show's Activision's obvious lack of personnel who have the same kind of foresight that West and Zampella have to make a great game.

This is by no means, "the last thing EA needs". Activision has no case here and will ultimately lose fairly quickly on this one, and accomplish nothing but to lose money on court costs, and will only help to tarnish their name and reputation even more; killing future potential for market share.


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