Activision targets Electronic Arts in updated lawsuit

The Hollywood connection

CAA, while not named as a co-defendant, is said to have aggressively encouraged the discussions. Members of CAA, say Activision, “had been attempting to ingratiate themselves” into the games industry, and the brokering of such a high-impact deal would presumably have been a big step in this direction. The agency, whose clients include Steven Spielberg, Justin Timberlake and David Beckham, are credited with putting together deals such as the Warped tour, Oprah Winfrey's OWN network, and the TV show Lost.

CAA took on Zampella and West as their highest-profile clients in the games industry after the pair were dismissed from Infinity Ward, but prior to that time CAA's Seamus Blackley is alleged to have emailed Zampella with the suggestion that “we could accomplish some interesting chaos.”

What does this mean for players?

Back-room power struggles are all very interesting – it's like a real-life Social Network or something! – but at the level of the folks holding controllers (that'd be you), what impact might such machinations have? Activision alleges that EA planned to feed off Zampella/West's CoD experience for the re-launched Medal of Honor series. They also accuse EA of attempting to delay the release of the Modern Warfare 2 Map Pack until after the release of Battlefield: Bad Company 2.

Activision submitted an email from EA DICE's Lincoln Hershberger stating, “I asked Vince [Zampella] to hold back their map pack until after we launched (he owes me one). Given that they've already made a billion, he was cool with that.” EA argue that this email was intended in jest. Both products were launched in March 2010 – Bad Company beating MW2's map pack out the gate by three weeks.

The case goes to court on May 23.

Jan 20, 2011