In this three part article, I will be discussing the three major lawsuits and court cases that have been covered recently in gaming media, namely: The California Law Against Violent Video Games, The Infinity Ward Lawsuit, and the "Other OS" Lawsuit filed against Sony. In this second part, I will be giving information and opinions on the Infinity Ward Lawsuit between Activision and Infinity Ward, and speculating on what it could mean for us.

Read Other Parts of this Article:

Part 1: http://www.bitmob.com/articles/welcome-to-the-gaming-industry-prepare-for-court-part-1-california-law


In November 2009, Activision released the critically-acclaimed hit, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, in the NA and PAL regions. The game became an instant hit, and as of June 15th, 2010, it has sold twenty million copies worldwide, making it the second best-selling game of all time in the UK, and the third best-selling game of all time in the US. It received above-favorable reviews from many sites, so it achieved both critical and commercial success. However, this became a bitter-sweet victory for Infinity Ward, the developer of the game, as four months later, on March 1st, 2010, it was revealed that Activision had dismissed both Frank Zampella and Jason West from Infinity Ward due to "breaches of contract and insubordination", which coincided with the two senior employees changing their Linkedln profiles to amend the fact that Infinity Ward was their former employer.

Reportedly, Activision Security Employees arrived at Infinity Ward Studios in Los Angeles, California. What happened next is still unknown, though subsequent allegations have led the community and the gaming press to believe that it wasn't pretty. Former employees have alleged that Activision Security Staff interrogated them for hours at a time, while the latter party dismisses that comments, saying that they are meritless, and they are still commited to the Call of Duty Franchise. Throughout April and May, 45 employees left the studio abruptly, including lead designers and programmers who worked on Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.


The Courts Will Decide Modern Warfare's Future

Very soon after, in fact, three days after the supposedly tumotulous events of March 1st, Frank Zampella and Jason West filed a lawsuit against Activision, alleging that the latter had not paid royalties due from the sales of Modern Warfare 2. For exact wording and information, I quote from Wikipedia:

"According to their attorney Robert Schwartz, Activision had hired lawyers to investigate West and Zampella on charges of insubordination and breaches of contract in February, which culminated in their dismissal. West and Zampella's lawsuit was filed to force Activision to compensate West and Zampella for the unpaid royalties, and to secure contractual rights over the Modern Warfare branch of the Call of Duty franchise, among other things. If their lawsuit is successful, West and Zampella could retain the power to halt the development and release of any future games and downloadable content in the Modern Warfare setting."

What Does the Lawsuit Mean to Us Gamers?

So at this stage, reading this article, you might be asking yourself, "What does this lawsuit have to do with us? Its just some corporate bigwigs fighting over money." Well, its not that simple. As quoted above, West and Zampella would have the power to halt development and release of any games or downloadable content in the Modern Warfare setting, should they win the lawsuit. This means, to all you Modern Warheads out there, that if Zampella and West succeed, they could stop Activision from releasing Modern Warfare 3 , or any downloadable content (Map Packs etc.), for Modern Warfare 2.

Now, I am not fond of Activision myself, and in this case it seems they are in the wrong, but if we are the entitled group that many say that we are, we should be worried about the outcome, should Frank Zampella and Jason West win out. Would you prefer Activision to retain their money, and have new Modern Warfare 2 DLC on your harddrive, and Modern Warfare 3 on your shelf, or for the two former Senior Employees to halt development and release of the next coveted edition of the franchise after Call of Duty: Black Ops  is released later this year. Do you take the side of the entitled gamer who wants to see the franchise continue, or the side of ethics, and see 'gaming justice' happen, and Infinity Ward be given their due royalties, if their side of the story is true.

I would take the side of ethics, mainly because I am not very enthusiastic about first-person shooters but that is just me. For those of you who might be up in arms about my opinion, I understand why many, many gamers thoroughly enjoy the genre, and I would never hold it against someone for liking it. Infinity Ward are entitled to the royalties for their game. It doesn't matter if Activision was worried that the latest edition would not be released when they wanted it to if they didn't make sure the employees in Infinity Ward camp didn't stick with the developer, Infinity Ward is entitled to the money that they are due.

So you've probably heard enough of my opinions by now, so I'd like to hear how you feel about this, if you wouldn't mind.


Stephen Barry is a fairly opinionated gamer with a yearning to write…and rant, or a combination of the two. He also tends to get angry at people who complain about Nintendo's trend of systems with not-so-great graphics. Take that how you will. So if you ever read an article by him, expect one of two things: A rant or discussion about a relevant gaming topic, or hating on Ninten-haters. Oh, and its pronounced Stee-ven, not Stef-en. He gets mad when people mix it up.

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