Call of Duty: Court Throws out Fraud Charge against Activision
One down. One to go. That’s the latest scorecard in the legal battle pitting Call of Duty publisher Activision against the two former bosses of the game’s developer, Infinity Ward. The two former head honchos of Infinity Ward, Vince Zampella and Frank West sued Activision for fraudulent inducement and promissory fraud.
A Los Angeles court judge threw out the fraudulent inducement claim. West and Zampella now only have a promissory fraud claim against the software publishing giant. The two former Infinity Ward bosses’ claim basically boils down to this: Activision strung them along with promises until they finished Modern Warfare 2. Once the title was done, the two were fired. Every story has two sides, right? On Activision’s side, the story looks way different. The publisher is claiming that West and Zampella were booted from Infinity Ward because they were planning to hook up with competing publisher, EA, to found a new game development studio. The two former bosses went on to form Respawn Studios and signed up with EA. This was after they got shown the door at Infinity Ward. The lawsuit’s remaining claims will be tried on the merits come May 7. It should be interesting how the claims stand up at trial. Oftentimes, many big companies settle once it is clear that some claims will make it to trial.
It may or may not be the case here. However, if there is a settlement, it would not be surprising at all. Many big companies would rather settle after some claims are thrown out by the judge rather than risking gigantic jury trial damage awards.