Activision Blizzard, publisher of the "Call of Duty" and "World of Warcraft" franchises, is seeking to add rival Electronic Arts to a lawsuit against two former Activision employees. EA tried to "destabilize, disrupt and destroy" Activision, according to the complaint.
The legal warfare began in March when Jason West and Zampella, founders of "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare" developer Infinity Ward, which Activision acquired in 2003, sued Activision for allegedly firing them to avoid paying royalties for the $1 billion military game.
In April the men formed another game studio, Respawn Entertainment,, and signed an exclusive publishing and distribution deal with Activision's biggest rival, Electronic Arts. At the same time Activision countersued, charging the men for breach of contract and employee poaching.
[RELATED_ARTICLE]Yesterday, according to the document filed in the California Super Court in Los Angeles, Activision added EA to its complaint and is seeking $400 million.
"Unable to compete with Activision and Infinity Ward, and, upon information and belief, enraged by the recent defection of two Electronic Arts executives to Activision (unlike West and Zampella, the executives who left Electronic Arts were not under employment contracts), Electronic Arts was determined to retaliate. Electronic Arts set out to destabilize, disrupt and to attempt to destroy Infinity Ward," Activision wrote.
EA and Activision did not immediately respond to requests for comment, but in a publicly circulated statement, EA spokesman Jeff Brown said, "This is a PR play filled with pettiness and deliberate misdirection. Activision wants to hide the fact that they have no credible response to the claim of two artists who were fired and now just want to get paid for their work."
Yesterday Activision also announced that "Call of Duty: Black Ops" brought in more than $1 billion in sales worldwide since its November launch. Its other major franchise, "World of Warcraft: Cataclysm," became the fastest-selling PC game of all time when it sold sold 3.3 million copies in 24 hours.
Copyright © 2010 Ziff Davis Publishing Holdings Inc.
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