The Infinity Ward case will not be going to court.
With upwards of a billion dollars potentially on the line one way or another, one of modern gaming’s biggest legal dramas – the lawsuit and countersuit between former Infinity Ward heads Jason West and Vince Zampella and publisher Activision – has been resolved and will not be heard in front of a jury.
Details of the settlement are “strictly confidential,” though Jason West was reportedly smiling in court when the settlement was announced. “We have reached a settlement in this matter as to all parties and all claims,” said a lawyer representing West and Zampella, who said that official court dismissals would be forthcoming soon.
West and his lawyer declined to comment as they left the courtroom.
Yesterday, a judge delayed the trial until the beginning of June, setting a limit of 22 days for lawyers to argue their cases. That had just been the latest development in the kerfuffle – earlier, EA and Activision had settled their own suit on the matter, and Activision had paid out $42 million to former Infinity Ward employees who it had determined were not at fault in any of this.
Given revelations that Activision had, among other things, tried to have Infinity Wards’ computers hacked, it doesn’t take an especially cynical person to see this as the publisher taking actions to avoid being taken to the cleaners in court once all its cards were on the table. West’s reported grin may lend further weight to the theory that Activision was backed up against a wall.
That said, we don’t know any details so any finger-pointing and blaming at this point is pretty presumptuous. I can’t help but think that it’s kind of a shame that the case will never go to trial; with this outcome we may never really know exactly what happened between Activision and Infinity Ward two years ago.
UPDATE: Activision has issued an official statement regarding the settlement, confirming that the specifics of the case will remain unpublished.
“Activision Blizzard, Inc. (ATVI) today announced that all parties to the litigation have reached a settlement of the dispute, the terms of which are strictly confidential,” the statement reads. “The company does not believe that the incremental one-time charges related to the settlement will result in a material impact on its GAAP or non-GAAP earnings per share outlook for the current quarter or the calendar year, due to stronger-than-expected operating performance in the current quarter.”
EA, which settled its part in the dispute earlier this month, also responded to the outcome, telling Polygon that “Activision’s refusal to pay their talent and attempt to blame EA were absurd. This settlement is a vindication of Vince and Jason, and the right of creative artists to collect the rewards due for their hard work.”