Activision/IW Snafu: Royalty Issues, Breach Of Contract
This so deserves a separate headline just because it's a colossal giant mess with tons of intrigue and drama.
We're still not entirely sure what happened between Activision and Infinity Ward but at the very least, we know it was a falling out of some kind. Last night, we learned that IW bosses Vince Zampella and Jason West never returned from a meeting with Activision; after which, some "bouncer types" showed up at IW and really freaked everyone out. Well, now it seems that both Zampella and West have been fired and there may even be a lawsuit that follows. Why? Like we said, it's a mess. You may want to read through the updates over at Binge Gamer, because there's a lot to go over. Firstly, it seems the developers haven't received any royalties for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 yet; a game that has earned Activision over $1 billion in revenue thus far. Maybe it's just a contractual thing and IW isn't supposed to receive any royalties just yet, but we can't be sure. Secondly, although Activision owns Infinity Ward, the development studio is technically autonomous; they're merely held in place by a contract that expires in October. The problem seems to revolve around the Call of Duty franchise: Activision may want the rights to the name but Infinity Ward holds them. If IW doesn't want to do a Modern Warfare 3, Activision probably does and needs another developer...hence, they need those rights.
The last part is downright nasty- according to recent SEC paperwork filed by Activision, there were "breaches of contract and insubordination by two senior employees at Infinity Ward." An inside source believes IW may have been in talks with a "rival publisher," which is likely the breach Activision is claiming. Interestingly enough, come October when the Acti/IW contract dissolves, Infinity Ward could hire Zampella and West back. Maybe they'll just take a little vacation for now...? Anyway, we're certain there's more to this story but we'll let it lie for now until either party comes forward with something official.
3/2/2010 10:44:02 AM Ben Dutka