EA Added As Defendant To Activision's Infinity Ward Countersuit

vansau

Mortician of Love
May 25, 2010
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EA Added As Defendant To Activision's Infinity Ward Countersuit



Activision has added EA to its countersuit against the former heads of Infinity Ward, and has leveled some pretty major claims against the Battlefield publisher.

The legal battle between Activision and former Infinity Ward heads Vince Zampella and Jason west just got more complicated. Today, the publisher's request to amend its countersuit against the men was successful, meaning that Electronic Arts is now being listed as a cross-defendant because EA apparently plotted to "inflict serious harm on the company."

Activision has also added a $400 million request for "actual and punitive damages" to the suit. On top of this, the protective order redacting sections of the suit - because they were publicly embarrassing to the defendants - has been removed.

According to one part of the formerly-redacted sections, "Activision is informed and believes that to protect its weaker [Battlefield: Bad Company] series, EA secretly schemed with West and Zampella to bolster sales of BFBC at the expense of Call of Duty.

As a result, Activision claims that "Electronic Arts secretly conspired with Infinity Ward employees to affect the timing of the release of Electronic Arts and Activision products to the benefit of Electronic Arts and detriment of Activision. Activision's belief is based on an internal EA email bragging about how Electronic Arts asked Zampella to hold back the release of an Infinity Ward product until after Electronic Arts launched its game, and how Zampella 'was cool with that.'"

To back up this claim, Activision included an email from EA's Lincoln Hershberger that reads as follows:

"A couple months ago, I asked Vince 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, obviously Kotick took it as being belligerent."

The map pack in question was the first one scheduled for Modern Warfare 2 known as the "Stimulus Package", which was released nearly a month after EA put out its lauded Bad Company 2.

EA, meanwhile, is claiming the email was a joke. According to spokesman Jeff Brown, "this was obviously sarcasm. It's clear from the email this was a joke and they never spoke. We explained this to lawyers at Activision - who apparently don't have much of a sense of humor."

There are a number of other redacted sections, mainly focusing on "specific actions related to EA's CEO John Riccitiello, negotiations between EA and West and Zampella, and any deal they may have arrived at."

If you want to read the rest of the redactions, Joystiq has transcribed all the major points. If these claims are true, then Activision has some pretty damning ammunition to fire at EA, West, and Zampella. If Brown's telling the truth and Hershberger's email was actually a joke, then it was a stupid one to make (not to mention that it's not really all that funny).

Source: VG247

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Apr 28, 2008
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While they're at it, why not sue every other developer/publisher that released a game during that time-frame.

Also a side note, that little email raises all kinds of frightening thoughts if true. I thought they were supposed to be rival companies, not 2 companies that were pretending to be rivals but are actually friends and essentially control a large part of the industry together.
 

Sallix

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Apr 9, 2008
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Joke or not, I don't see where the problem is. Its not like they would of made a substantial loss if this was the case, people who would buy the stimulus would have bought it at some point regardless.

It's a shame that it seems that Kotick wants to take the camaraderie out of the studios.
 

Motiv_

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Jun 2, 2009
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Can someone fill me in on exactly what both companies are talking about? I try to keep away from all the bullshit and drama in the industry, but seeing EA and Activision go head to head should be interesting.
 

RelexCryo

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Oct 21, 2008
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mad825 said:
This cannot end well with Two evil empires head-to-head.
This^. One way or the other, some franchises a lot of us know and love are going to have their budgets cut.
 

John Funk

U.N. Owen Was Him?
Dec 20, 2005
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Qufang said:
Joke or not, I don't see where the problem is. Its not like they would of made a substantial loss if this was the case, people who would buy the stimulus would have bought it at some point regardless.

It's a shame that it seems that Kotick wants to take the camaraderie out of the studios.
I think the problem here is that you have the heads of a studio under an exclusive contract who (if true) are making a deal with a studio making a similar game for your publisher's biggest rival. That's probably in violation of all sorts of parts of West and Zampella's contracts, and it's not hard to see where this rubbed ATVI the wrong way. "It's just a joke" is one of the weakest potential defenses you can have in something like this - if you're part of a large corporation, you need to take that sort of thing seriously.

I'm really interested in how EA will respond.
 

Mr. Socky

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Apr 22, 2009
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Activision may just trying to protect their assets, but good grief are they going WAY overboard.
 

BehattedWanderer

Fell off the Alligator.
Jun 24, 2009
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Joke or not, I wonder what Hershberger did for Zampella that he owed him one. And if it isn't a joke, then that should be passed off as friendly competition, in the classic style of helping out your rival, so that a victory over fair ground is more meaningful. Though, without a verdict and all evidence presented and known, my judgment is reserved.
 

ultimateownage

This name was cool in 2008.
Feb 11, 2009
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God, soon they'll drag THQ into this for some arbitrary reason. This has gone a bit too far.
 

Loonerinoes

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Apr 9, 2009
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This is certainly moreso damning evidence...and EA's response tends to tell me this really was not a joke to begin with. Or if it was, based on what I read on Joystiq, it was a joke that was somehow funny enough to last for half a year straight at least heh...

...however, the source behind these leaked messages should also be carefully considered. Not publically, god no - EA is like any other bigger company, they'd fire them on the spot for this of course. But privately the courts would do well to ask about the actual source of this and not simply rely on it being 'anonymous.' Because the thing with these 'reliable sources' as always is that they tell one side of the story only rather than the whole picture.

If EA were to release other correspondance between them from that time, that could actually shed a different light on all of this. But until then, no - this isn't just a joke I think. Not if this stuff actually is legit.
 

Croaker42

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Feb 5, 2009
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I am fairly certain that if I had been working at EA during the time, that joke would have made me laugh.
Its about time Activision call it quits on this BS and admits its wrong.
 

Delusibeta

Reachin' out...
Mar 7, 2010
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dibblywibbles said:
this is pretty funny. find the humour in this please.
Considering that THQ has confirmed that they turned away Zampella & West before they got the deal with EA, I think Activision has been talking out of their collective asses. The fact that they're going up against EA over this suggests to me that someone high up in Activision's ranks doesn't have two brain cells to rub together.
 

Loonerinoes

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Apr 9, 2009
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DayDark said:
I see where this is going...

Well, at least we'll get to see this I agree and I'm sure it'll be very entertaining (because EA, unlike everyone else Activision has sued in the past, has the funds to fight them equally on legal terms), no matter which way it goes and which side winds up taking the consequences in the end. :p
 

Sixcess

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Feb 27, 2010
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I really hope Blizzard were smart enough to take precautions against being dragged into Activision's idiocies. Come to think of it, why did they tie themselves to them in the first place?
 

Bretty

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Jul 15, 2008
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Right because that email is going to get Activision 400mill.

Sounds like business to me. Employees not happy, screw employer. Happens everyday. Moral of the story, take care of your people and dont hire premadonas.

You didnt make enough money already ATVI? Sounds like two things are happening, Big man in ATVI is still bum sore or they are honestly intimidated by what EA can do with those two now. We all know if ATVI win that the two Devs wont be able to work with EA.

I think this is a if we cant have them, no one can. Mark my words, Act will drop their case out of court and suddenly the two Devs will go elsewhere.