Activision and Electronic Arts settle lawsuit

Reuters News
Posted: May 18, 2012 3:12 PM
Activision and Electronic Arts settle lawsuit

By Dan Levine

(Reuters) - Activision Blizzard Inc settled a lawsuit against arch rival video game company Electronic Arts Inc in which Activision accused two former executives of breaking their employment agreements to develop games for EA.

"Activision and EA have agreed to put this matter behind them," the companies said on Wednesday in a joint statement. Neither company disclosed details of the settlement.

Two former Activision executives, Jason West and Vincent Zampella, developed the original "Call of Duty" game and several others in the series. After leaving Activision in 2010, West and Zampella formed a new development studio, Respawn Entertainment, and signed an exclusive publishing and distribution deal with EA.

Activision said EA executives urged West and Zampella to meet with them, and enlisted intermediaries to help, even though West and Zampella were under contract with Activision.

West and Zampella sued Activision over their dismissal and sought $36 million in royalty payments and damages. Activision then countersued, seeking $400 million in actual and punitive damages from EA and the former executives.

Activision Blizzard is the world's largest stand-alone game publisher. Electronic Arts, which made its name on sports games, publishes titles like "FIFA 11" and "Need for Speed."

A Los Angeles state court docket was still listing a trial date in the case for the end of the month, and it was unclear whether West and Zampella would also settle. An attorney for the two former Activision executives could not immediately be reached for comment on Wednesday.

The case in Superior Court of the State of California, Los Angeles County is Jason West v Activision Publishing, No. SC107041.

(Reporting by Dan Levine; Editing by Gary Hill)