July 10, 2010

Activision’s Modern Warfare

Late yes­ter­day Kotaku report­ed that the Activision/Infinity Ward law suit will final­ly be heard in court on May 23rd 2011. That will be over one year after the inci­dent hap­pened in which Frank Zam­pel­la and Jason West were fired from their pos­tions at the devel­op­ment stu­dio they cre­at­ed. It will also be two weeks be for next years E3 so it will be inter­est­ing what Activi­sion  brings to the show next year. Since that fate­ful day back in March, West and Zam­pel­la have moved on an cre­at­ed Respawn Enter­tain­ment, which has signed with EA part­ners, Activ­sions biggest com­peti­tor. Also since then more than 40 employ­ees have also left Infin­i­ty Ward either going on to Respawn Enter­tain­ment or reach­ing out to oth­er ven­tures.
Dur­ing the inves­ti­ga­tions remain­ing employ­ees have said that Activi­sion has kept IW in a “police state”. That’s hard­ly the type of envi­ro­ment to be cre­ative in. The legal mat­ters are bro­ken up into sev­er­al suits. West and Zam­pel­la are suing Activi­sion for 36 mil­lion in unpaid roy­al­ties, and Activi­sion has a counter suit against that claim­ing they were insub­o­rant and breach of con­tract. The for­mer employ­ees have filed suit for 216 mil­lion in unpaid roy­al­ties. The IW employ­ees tried going to CFO Thomas Tip­pl and when approched he just stat­ed “get over it”. 216 mil­lion is a lit­tle hard to get over, espe­cial­ly when you cre­ate on of the most suc­cess­ful game fran­chis­es and put 2 years of hard work into that prod­uct. 
I have bought 2 Activi­sion games this year and feel guilty already for fund­ing a com­pa­ny that is out to destroy cre­ativ­i­ty and looks sole­ly at the bot­tom dol­lar. CEO Bob­by Kotick reads the game indus­try as a spread sheet look­ing for his next big mon­ey mak­er, which is why I fear for Bungie. I know Bungie need­ed a large bank roll for their next project but I fear some how Activi­sion will get their hands on the IP and choke it to death just how they did with Call of Duty and Gui­tar Hero fran­chis­es. In the mid­dle of all of this dra­ma is Tre­yarch try­ing to fin­ish Call of Duty: Black Ops, which takes sev­er­al cues from Mod­ern War­fare 2. We’ll see how this game turns out and how well it is recieved by crit­ics and com­sumers alike.


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  2. thsoundman - July 11, 2010 10:49 am

    Unfor­tu­natly this is com­mon prac­tice with these “mega­com­pa­nies” all they care about is mak­ing bil­lions not mak­ing a “good” prod­ucts. I real­ly do hope the courts side with the for­mer IW employ­ees this would real­ly put strain on activi­sion. I actu­al­ly hope it destroys them to be hon­est.
    The worst part of all of it is that con­sumers are brain­washed into buy­ing some­thing just because it has “Mod­eren War­fare” on the tag and any­thing that is released with that tag will be bought. I real­ly wish con­sumers would see how these game com­pa­nies view them. Sad­ly I fear they nev­er will.
    Even­tu­al­ly greed col­laps­es in on itself and when it does on Activi­sion I will be here smil­ing. I just feel bad for the employ­ees who are going to get screwed in the process.

  3. ScrotusKilmystr - July 11, 2010 12:31 pm

    It’s a shame that activi­sion has sac­cumbed to this men­tal­i­ty since they were one of the few com­pa­nies to sur­vive the same men­tal­i­ty that destroyed the indus­try back in the 80’s! No one want s to see anoth­er ET video game but I fear we are on the brink again of a total crap game over­load!

  4. DianaQ - July 12, 2010 7:02 pm

    Thank you for bring­ing to light what is hap­pen­ing and I also agree that it would be a pos­i­tive step in the right direc­tion if the IW employ­ees win. It would send a dis­tinc­tive mes­sage to the com­pa­ny. Also, by mak­ing the con­sumer aware of what is hap­pen­ing, bet­ter deci­sions can be made.


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