Activision targets EA in $400 million lawsuit

Dec 22, 2010

(AP) -- Activision Blizzard Inc., the video game maker behind the smash-hit shooter "Call of Duty: Black Ops," on Tuesday added a new target in its lawsuit against two former executives: rival Electronic Arts Inc. Activision also put a price tag on its claim for the first time, seeking $400 million.

The amended complaint filed in the Los Angeles Superior Court is the latest salvo in a legal shootout that began when Jason West and Vince Zampella sued for $36 million in March, claiming Activision fired them to avoid paying royalties for their work on the "Call of Duty" franchise.

Activision, owned by France's Vivendi SA, claims EA lured the men away, starting as early as July 2009, despite their having two years left on their contract, in part by using talent agency Creative Artists Agency as an intermediary. It alleges EA dispatched a private jet to Southern California to shuttle West and Zampella to a secret meeting at the home of EA's chief executive John Riccitiello near San Francisco in August 2009.

The two later formed Respawn Entertainment, hiring about 40 employees away from Activision. Respawn said in April it will create games exclusively for release by EA.

In the complaint, Activision alleges that EA intentionally interfered with contracts, engaged in unfair competition and aided and abetted breaches of fiduciary duty by the executives.

EA, which is based in Redwood City, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

West and Zampella did not directly work on the "Black Ops" , which Activision said Tuesday had exceeded $1 billion in . The men's unit at Activision, Infinity Ward, works on roughly every other game in the "Call of Duty" franchise with Activision subsidiary Treyarch.

Shares of Activision, which is based in Santa Monica, rose 10 cents to $12.33 in after-hours trading on Tuesday, after closing up 2 cents at $12.23. shares were unchanged in extended trading after closing up 8 cents at $15.93.

Explore further: Verizon reports higher 3Q net income, revenue

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Fired Activision execs in games deal with rival EA

Apr 12, 2010

(AP) -- Two studio executives recently fired by Activision and accused of inappropriately meeting with a rival company said Monday that they will create games to be distributed exclusively by one such competitor, Electronic ...

Former studio heads sue Activision after firing

Mar 05, 2010

(AP) -- Two game studio heads fired by Activision this week are suing the video game publisher, saying it let them go to avoid paying hefty royalties from the popular "Call of Duty."

Infinity Ward execs leave Activision

Mar 02, 2010

(AP) -- Activision Blizzard Inc. said Tuesday that Jason West and Vince Zampella, executives at "Call of Duty" developer Infinity Ward, are no longer with the company.

Activision countersues 'Modern Warfare' execs

Apr 09, 2010

(AP) -- Two former studio heads overseeing last year's blockbuster video game "Modern Warfare 2" were fired for insubordination and trying to poach key employees from Activision, the gaming giant alleged ...

Activision in legal battle with game developers

Apr 29, 2010

Activision has a fight on its hands as developers behind "Modern Warfare" accuse the videogame publisher of holding them "hostage" to complete a new installment of the blockbuster franchise.

Recommended for you

Turner channels removed from Dish amid pact spat

7 hours ago

Channels such as Cartoon Network and CNN are no longer part of Dish's programming lineup as a deadline has passed for the satellite TV provider and Turner Broadcasting to renew their distribution agreement.

Verizon reports higher 3Q net income, revenue

8 hours ago

Verizon Communications Inc. on Tuesday reported higher net income and revenue in its third quarter, helped by strong wireless subscriber growth and demand for its high-speed FiOS Internet services.

Amazon, Simon & Schuster sign book retail deal

17 hours ago

Amazon has reached a deal with American book publisher Simon & Schuster, the companies said, though the e-commerce giant remains at loggerheads with France's Hachette over e-book pricing.

User comments : 0