News

Activision files $400 million suit against EA over departure of Infinity Ward executives

Posted by: Chuck at 12/21/2010 11:12 PM
It looks like Activision's lawyers have found all the smoking guns they want as they've filed a $400M lawsuit against Electronic Arts over the defection of key Infinity Ward executives. This has been a long time brewing as Activision has been fighting with EA and CAA (the agency that they claim served as an intermediary for the defection) to get access to documents they need to prove their case.

All of these documents are a part of the brief they filed today in court in California (Joystiq has the full filing) and the evidence they have is pretty damming. They've got e-mails setting up the meeting, text messages between the two execs detailing how they are going after Treyarch, and a bunch of other evidence that paints the Infinity Ward guys in a bad light (which is kind of the point and what you would expect).

I'm not normally one to recommend reading legal documents but the writing by Activision's lawyers is gripping stuff. It's almost like Fox News like in its presentations of the facts (there's a section called "The Fall Of Electronic Arts And The Rise Of Activision" that's pure gold).

It's going to be interesting to see how this plays out as the evidence is fairly clear cut. The IW guys signed a contract with a two year non-solicitation/non-compete agreement meaning they were prevented from hiring their own guys after they left Activision and there's some significant evidence that they violated that part of the agreement in some egregious ways. I doubt that Activision is going to get their $400 million in punitive damages but it could be significant. It's also going to be a huge drain on resources for both companies to fight this out over the long haul so there may be a settlement if this goes on forever.

We've reached out to EA for comment but have not  heard anything back yet.