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Activision: EA And West/Zampella Were In Cahoots

One of 2010's biggest stories was the Infinity Ward/Activision fiasco, with former IW bosses Vince Zampella and Jason West battling the world's biggest publisher in a huge case involving Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.

The latest update shows that Activision won't take anything lying down; according to GameSpot, they are now going after Electronic Arts. Activision had previously alleged that West and Zampella had secret meetings with EA and now, the new claim is that EA had a hand in West and Zampella's premature departure from Infinity Ward. Activision has since asked a federal judge for permission to file an amended cross-complaint, where EA becomes a defendant. Activision says EA "tampered with" the two guys and actually induced them to break their contracts, so they could form their own studio. If you remember, not long after the two guys created Respawn Entertainment, it was announced that EA would publish their products. Here's part of the filing:

"...starting as early as July 30, 2009, Electronic Arts and [West and Zampella]--with full knowledge that the executives were under contract and legally committed to Activision for more than two additional years--conspired to set up an indepdendent company.

The unlawful conduct came from the highest levels at Electronic Arts, including EA Chief Executive Officer, John Riccitiello, and Chief Operating Officer, John Schappert, with direct support from the high profile talent agency, Creative Artists Agency, and even a former member of Activision's Board of Directors and former Activision lawyer."

As if things weren't nasty enough before. Activision even has access to "shady" communication between West/Zampella and EA, including an e-mail that told EA's COO that he "was thrilled to have a super secret way" to find freedom. The suit goes even further by putting the limelight on Harold Brown, a former board member of Activision and West/Zampella's attorney. Apparently, Brown would've had "prior knowledge of Activision's incentive practices and suggests CAA (Creative Artists Agency) brought him in to cloak negotiations with EA under an attorney-client privilege."

Activision is looking for $400 million in "actual and punitive damages" from EA, West and Zampella, that includes profits Activision could've made had EA kept to themselves. They even say West and Zampella acted "in a manner that was in breach of their contractual and fiduciary obligations to Activision," and they gave "confidential and proprietary Activision information" to EA. It goes on for a while but it's just too grimy...I gotta go take a shower.

Tags: activision, ea, jason west, vince zampella, call of duty

12/21/2010 8:59:10 PM John Shepard

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Comments (28 posts)

AntDC
Tuesday, December 21, 2010 @ 9:50:42 PM
Reply

The lines are really starting to blur here huh? As much as people like to make out Activision were the baddies here (me included), it sounds like both sides played their part in this clusterf***. This is tabloid magazine material haha

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Scarecrow
Tuesday, December 21, 2010 @ 9:54:14 PM
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lol

what a disgrace to gaming these two companies are.

Last edited by Scarecrow on 12/21/2010 9:54:32 PM

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Tuesday, December 21, 2010 @ 9:55:36 PM
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Oh, I can absolutely guarantee that every single person involved has dirt on their hands. At this point, the only question is who has the most dirt.

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BikerSaint
Tuesday, December 21, 2010 @ 10:00:13 PM
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I can only hope that Kotex had the grimiest mitts.

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TheShadow
Wednesday, December 22, 2010 @ 12:35:25 AM

You and me both

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maxpontiac
Wednesday, December 22, 2010 @ 7:54:00 AM

Indeed Biker Saint, indeed.

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King James
Tuesday, December 21, 2010 @ 10:24:58 PM
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Man! Does this mean I can't play Star Wars: The Old Republic?

But seriously, this is crazy! Has this ever happened b4 in the gaming industry? Top 2 publishers in a multi-million lawsuit?? This is the kind of stuff that happens in Hollywood. If this lawsuit doesn't legitimize the gaming industry as a top entertainment sector to those naysayers and skeptics, nothing will.

Last edited by King James on 12/21/2010 10:39:08 PM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, December 22, 2010 @ 12:25:35 AM

yup, with the same two guys and the same two companies.

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bloody_rootz
Tuesday, December 21, 2010 @ 11:05:00 PM
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$400 million is a catastrophic amount. that could seriously single handily destroy E.A! this is gona get sooo messy and so strung out.

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leatherface
Wednesday, December 22, 2010 @ 1:13:42 AM

refuse/resist

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Lawless SXE
Wednesday, December 22, 2010 @ 1:19:49 AM

$400 million is a lot of money, but gaming is big business. Black Ops has pulled in over a billion dollars. If Activision does win, and get that money, EA will be crippled for a while. They will stick largely to what has worked in the past, but it will not put them down. I assure you of that.
Peace.

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Underdog15
Wednesday, December 22, 2010 @ 8:27:32 AM

Guys guys guys, this money doesn't come straight from the pockets of EA. A large portion of that 400 million will be covered in liability insurance. I'm sure these companies pay to insure a large amount of their worth.

It will hurt them in that their premiums will go up.

If a postal worker slips on ice in front of your home, and sues you for a million and wins, then your liability insurance on your home insurance pays them out. Most liability insurances for individuals cover at LEAST 1 mil. At least in Canada, anyways.

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BTNwarrior
Tuesday, December 21, 2010 @ 11:15:36 PM
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would it really be that bad if they were talking to ea about what freedoms would be offered when their contract expired. I mean that is like a company firing and then sueing you for looking at the benifites of other jobs

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Alienange
Tuesday, December 21, 2010 @ 11:40:42 PM
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Where that kind of money is involved, that kind of mud is flung.

I'm still looking forward to what West and Zampella are going to come out with though.

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johnld
Tuesday, December 21, 2010 @ 11:46:31 PM
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you know what, screw infinity ward. i used to like them, in fact i play mw2 off and on. but since they dont care about fixing their game, i dont think i'll buy any of their products, at least not support them. when the online component of your game have people hacking lobbies and deleting everything you worked on, didnt happen to me by the way and i dont plan on going back to mw2 now, and you dont do anything, im done with you. i'm just hoping treyarch supports blackops a lot better then infinity ward did.

given that most of the dev team left, i should be more understanding. however, i'm going to take their approach concerning the developers, i dont give a F***

*wonders if this is all part of kotex's elaborate plan to get rid of their competition. first EA, then whos next?*

Last edited by johnld on 12/21/2010 11:55:29 PM

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TheShadow
Wednesday, December 22, 2010 @ 12:36:56 AM

They better not touch Sony's developers or there will be Heck to pay, HECK I say

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johnld
Wednesday, December 22, 2010 @ 1:00:59 AM

doubt that, they cant take on sony and its devs in any way. they can try microsoft but 400million is probably chump change for that.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, December 22, 2010 @ 12:27:15 AM
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A lot of you don't know this but Activision originally stole these two from EA years ago. So this is very personal.

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johnld
Wednesday, December 22, 2010 @ 12:58:49 AM

so does that mean that theres gonna be a despute for respawn, their new development house, between EA and Activision again when they come up with a great franchise? Either way, my gripe is against online support with their games. its only been a year and now MW2 has hacked lobbies and people deleting hard earned stats/items. what does infinity ward do about it, nothing. looking at what makes up respawn, i dont feel confident at all that they'll provide good support for their games.

kinda funny that theyre supposed to be the good developers for COD, founded a new development house called respawn. which was pretty broken in modern warfare 2 with instant spawning of killed enemies directly behind you.

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shaydey77
Wednesday, December 22, 2010 @ 7:26:01 AM

World, you maker them sound like trojan horses...nice! ha

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Qubex
Wednesday, December 22, 2010 @ 1:05:02 AM
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It just shows when billions are involved... how everything descends into depravity...

If West and Zampella were doing good at Activision, why where the trying to shaft the company behind Activision's back?

Ethically that is wrong, it doesn't matter how much you disagree with your employer. If you want to have clean break, meet your contractual obligations and leave cleanly...

Crazy world... when adding greed to that, it becomes pig sloth!

Q!

"play.experience.enjoy"

Last edited by Qubex on 12/22/2010 1:07:49 AM

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___________
Wednesday, December 22, 2010 @ 1:16:28 AM
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antivision have no shame do they?
just do whatever it takes to get a quick buck!
no shame, no morals, no dignity what so ever!
way to whore out your company bobby!

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Ludicrous_Liam
Wednesday, December 22, 2010 @ 1:55:25 AM
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Exciting!

When you think about it, Acti have every right to sue them for all they've got, EA would do the same. This reminds me of the social network...wasn't that 400 million too?

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MadPowerBomber
Wednesday, December 22, 2010 @ 2:57:34 AM
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Eh, I hate lawsuits. I have a better idea. Get two reps from both companies, doesn't matter who they are, but I'd prefer the ones that make the most money.

Give 'em about six months training at a respectable MMA camp -- y'know, the ones that put their fighters through hell -- and make the two greedy, shady effers fight it out.

Put it on PPV and let all the proceeds (along with that $400 million) go to a respectable charity.

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shaydey77
Wednesday, December 22, 2010 @ 7:28:28 AM
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What iu dont understand is if you are working with the world's biggest entertainment moneymaker why would you go behind their back?

Unless creativity and change were being blocked. These devs need the ability to grow. Activision seems to just consistently rehash the same stuff.

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CH1N00K
Wednesday, December 22, 2010 @ 10:00:57 AM
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But video games companies aren't about the money..they're all about making the games!! Why is this happening? (If you don't know sarcasm, then you won't get this...)

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BikerSaint
Wednesday, December 22, 2010 @ 11:27:57 AM
Reply

On a related note, here's a very interesting article on EA's CEO....& I like what he had to say about his "gamers first" rule...

EA Boss Has No Sympathy for Bobby Kotick

http://www.industrygamers.com/news/ea-boss-has-no-sympathy-for-bobby-kotick/

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booze925
Wednesday, December 22, 2010 @ 12:02:04 PM
Reply

huh.
at this point, just stick em in a ring and make them fight.

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