Just days ago, reports circled over a bizarre alleged hacking scandal which accused Activision CEO Bobby Kotick of asking an employee to hack into the computers of former Infinity Ward developers Jason West and Vince Zampella. Today, a day before the much anticipated trial was set to begin, a report from the LA Times claims that Activision has settled with the Call of Duty creators.
The report states that attorneys for all three parties, during a brief hearing, confirmed to California Superior Court Judge Elihu Berle that they had reached a settlement and would soon file dismissals for all claims. The LA Times‘ Ben Fritz confined the settlement on Twitter and stated that the terms of the settlement were strictly confidential.
The news officially ends what was to be a pivotal case and decision for the gaming industry. West and Zampella first sued Activision in 2010 after they claimed Activision had wrongly fired them and had done so before they could collect promised royalties from the launch of Modern Warfare 2. West and Zampella founded Respawn Entertainment, taking with them over 40 Infinity Ward employees and developers. Activision paid $42 million to the Infinity Ward Employee Group in May, though it was stated that said payment wasn’t a settlement for the case.
The figures of the settlement remain unannounced, and will probably stay that way to prevent the average citizen’s jaw from hitting the floor. It’s safe to presume that the figures were astronomical considering that West and Zampella decided not to go to trial, even though West himself stated recently he had issues with a simple settlement, saying, “I do have an issue, letting them get away with it and doing it to the next guy.” Apparently, the issue wasn’t large enough to distract him from the money Activision was waving in his face.
It’s also interesting to point out that Activision themselves were willing to arrange for a settlement, implying that they were not confident enough in their defense going into trial. The reputation of the publisher and the fate of its golden Call of Duty franchise would have rested on the decision of this case, and Activision clearly was not willing to leave such a fate up to chance. I suppose when you have a game that features an annual installment and every year manages to gross over $1 billion, you have the luxury of deciding fate yourself.