Activision targets Electronic Arts in updated lawsuit

Activision's legal action against former Infinity Ward heads Vince Zampella and Jason West has gained further weight, with Electronic Arts officially added to the list of defendants in the $400m cross-complaint. The accusations against the Redwood software behemoth include a protracted campaign to lure Zampella and West away from their contractual commitments to Activision.

Attempts were made at the highest levels of EA, says Activision, to “disrupt and destroy Infinity Ward” – leveraging the losses to Infinity Ward's Call of Duty series into gains for EA's properties, such as floundering rival franchise, Medal of Honor.

The background

The case was initially brought as a countersuit to Zampella and West's March 2010 action against Activision for their sudden termination from Infinity Ward, a subsidiary of Activision. The pair alleged in court documents that Activision had conducted an “Orwellian” campaign of unexplained investigations (which is technically more “Kafkaesque” than “Orwellian,” but they were under some stress at the time).

Activision justified the investigation – which included demands for personal computers and cell phones to be handed over, and a six-hour interrogation session in a windowless room – with the oblique remark that the pair “already have a clear understanding of what they have or have not done.”

Collusion with EA

Above: Activision contends that EA hoped CoD's loss would be MoH's gain

The results of that investigation are now coming out in court, with Activision accusing EA of attempting to set up a new company made up of ex-Activision/Infinity Ward employees, draining the Call of Duty franchise of its key talent. EA flew West and Zampella to San Francisco for a meeting with their CEO, John Riccitiello, as part of “secret negotiations” toward the plan, at Riccitiello's home between West/Zampella, Electronic Arts and leading LA talent managers Creative Artists Agency.


  • mentalityljs - January 22, 2011 12:20 a.m.

    All Activision is doing is scaring away future talent by sueing everyone that attempts to beat them at their own game, and not accepting the fact that they made one of the biggest mistakes in their career. They are conceited, greedy money mongers who don't like the concept of competition. They need to go back to their roots and reevaluate the reason they got into the business before CoD became a commodity. Suck it!
  • urwifemykids - January 21, 2011 11:35 p.m.

    so activision is filed a lawsuit against EA for hiring people they fired BLIZZARD GET OUT WHILE YOU STILL CAN
  • manicania - January 21, 2011 11:22 p.m.

    I hate Activision. They ruin everything.
  • MyriamD - January 21, 2011 10:35 p.m.

    I just hope that once they realize there's no recouping their losses, they'll get off their high horses and start looking to the interests of all of their OTHER developers and IPs. As other GR articles have said, they've been sloppy publishers outright. It's cockiness like they used to have that let them try to do things like Real ID
  • Tomgoulter - January 21, 2011 10:14 p.m.

    @AxiamWolfe: That's exactly right. Activision are alleging that the planned undermining of CoD, the "interesting chaos" email etc, all came out of their investigation - that is, while West/Zampella were working for Activision. @JakeyBaby: Action can still be taken by a company against an individual after that individual has been dismissed from the company. @ThatGuyFromTV: The details of the map pack incident are fuel for Activision's accusations but are not the main focus of the case. The example was given as a way in which these events may have affected players' experience of the companies' products. Sorry if that was confusing.
  • gaseoussnake - January 21, 2011 9:02 p.m.

    The more you tighten your grip activision, the more developers will slip through your fingers.
  • FanofSaiyan - January 21, 2011 2:33 p.m.

    Activision vs. EA, Kotick vs. Ricitiello... It seems a pretty even match, the future of this lawsuit looks cloudy.
  • ThatGuyFromTV - January 21, 2011 1:53 p.m.

    so they're suing EA over releasing BFBC2 before a MW2 map pack and saying it was taking away sales. I'm willing to bet they'll start targeting every dev who released a game within a month of a CoD game or expansion with the same argument. 20 extra bucks says they rope Ubisoft into this whole mess somehow.
  • JakeyBaby - January 21, 2011 10:47 a.m.

    If you did around your biggest rivals sh*t for long enough you're bound to find 'something' that is potentially incriminating. No matter how little wieght there is to it. You can't sue if you've already sacked them. Surely that 'agreement' settles this one. And EA is just a market rival, so ofcourse they want to inflict harm on Activision. Only by, you know, releasing a game able to blow the other guys out of the water... It's good to be back by the way! I conclude I have the absolute worst internet provider.
  • centrip - January 21, 2011 8:55 a.m.

    Supposing there's never going to be a MW3 or that its no good. I'm just grateful they got MW2 out before all this. Best. Game. Ever.
  • shadyteadybear - January 21, 2011 8:42 a.m.

    lesson learned? well COD and all of it's developers SUCK A LOT OF S**T and should stop butting that S**T IN THERE GAMES
  • Sniped50 - January 21, 2011 8:25 a.m.

    Is it just me, or do Activision sound increasingly stupid/out-of-their-league every time one of these updates appear? Now, be honest!
  • Jaces - January 21, 2011 7:20 a.m.

    Bobby Kotick, douche of the century.
  • IndestructibleJediSquirrel - January 21, 2011 7:11 a.m.

    It activision also making lawsuits and blame games and annual franchise?
  • HarrisonWithNumbers - January 21, 2011 5:15 a.m.

    Man, Kotick is such a freakin' greedy chode.
  • AxiamWolfe - January 21, 2011 5:08 a.m.

    @demonscourge21 Wasn't it mentioned somewhere that Activision did what they did BECAUSE they found West and Zampella trying to collude with EA while still under them? Don't know how true this is; the whole thing's a convoluted mess.
  • keltar93 - January 21, 2011 4:55 a.m.

    This is becoming a bad soap opera. Seriously, can we just end this and get on with making great games? Or for Activision, using their money-printing COD and Blizzard to support some smaller games?
  • SirMuhen - January 21, 2011 4:17 a.m.

    Activision Activision Activision.... Why do you do this? Are you really not making enough money? I mean, yes every game you make other than Call of Duty sucks hardlike, but you shot yourselves in the foot by firing the HEAD PEOPLE at your most famous and prosperous branch.
  • demonscourge21 - January 21, 2011 4:05 a.m.

    @Dvsshark Activision fired west and zempella terminating there contracts early to save them money EA picked them up sfter they were fired from infinity ward
  • SAUGAPRIME - January 21, 2011 4 a.m.

    See what happens when you sign with the devil, he will never let you go. Activision made a billion dollar profit over Whack-Ops and they still want to charge 14.99 for a 4 map pack come on.

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