Saturday, June 2, 2012

Acitvision vs. West and Zampella reaches settlement ? Video Games ...

Following two delays, the multi-billion dollar Call of Duty lawsuit between Activision Blizzard Inc. and Jason West and Vincent Zampella will no longer be going to trial. The two parties have instead agreed a settlement. According to Ben Fritz of the L.A. Times, ?Jason West is in court and smiling.?

This agreement ends two years of litigation after Activision shocked the gaming industry when it fired West and Zampella, the co-creators of Infinity Ward?s Call of Duty franchise, in March 2010. After their departure 40 employees up and quit. West and Zampella filed a suit claiming wrongful termination, to which Activision counter-sued saying the two were disloyal and trying to relocate to rival Electronic Arts. Meanwhile, the group of 40 employees filed a separate suit declaring over $2 billion in damages for hundreds of millions of dollars Activision denied them in royalties and bonuses from the franchise?s success. The Call of Duty franchise, thus far, has garnered an estimated $7 billion in revenue.

The settlement resolves all three of these disputes, but the terms remain private for the moment. All that is known is the three parties reached an agreement on Thursday, and will soon be dismissing all charges against one another.

Activision has said that it doesn?t think the charges it is incurring as part of the settlement will impact its earnings for the quarter. Though, it?s fair to speculate that the settlement timing might be a little too convenient, considering Blizzard just released Diablo 3?a game that sold 3.5 million copies within 24 hours of its release. It could be seen as an easy way for the company to cover up any losses Activision is inevitably going to? incur now.

Earlier, on May 15 Activision also settled its dispute with Electronic Arts over whether the company may have tried to recruit West and Zampella while they were still under contract. The company also paid out $42 million to the ex-Infinity Ward employees on the same day in back payments.

This legal battle has been one that industry members and investors have kept close tabs on. The developers representing artist?s rights in the gaming industry and Activision Blizzard Inc. showing investors how it planned to assert itself and protect its investments in this battle. Now that all is settled, perhaps West and Zampella can go on to finally release their own AAA title at their appropriately named company, Respawn Entertainment.

Read more at L.A. Times

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