Michael Pachter weighs in on Activision/Infinity Ward dispute

Speaking to Critical Gamer, high profile research analyst for Wedbush Morgan Securities Michael Pachter weighed in with his thoughts on the recent news surrounding Activision and the firing of Infinity Ward studio heads Vince Zampella and Jason West .

It would be terrible for Activision if Zampella/West won the rights to the brand, only mildly negative if they win the monetary portion.

With that said, I think it is highly unlikely that Zampella/West will win the rights to the brand. I have not seen their contracts (I am a lawyer), but my understanding from the news commentary about the suit is that they had the rights to supervise and control modern warfare versions of the game under their old contract. What was not reported is whether these rights were granted to them as employees (likely). If so, when they are no longer employees, they presumably lose those rights.

The situation is analogous to firing the coach of a sports team, who continues to claim the right to set the the team’s line up.

I don’t think that they will win any rights over the brand, but they may win some money. With 1.3 billion shares, the amount sought is only around $0.02/share, so it won’t cripple Activision.”

Either way, it seems this story is set to run and run, with law suits filed and new developments on a daily basis. The future of one of gamings biggest and most lucrative franchises hangs in the balance.



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Written by Michael J

Michael is a self proclaimed PC gaming fanatic and is equally at home with all genres, bar platformers and puzzle games. Except Bejeweled, he's awesome at that. Seriously, he is totally like second on his Facebook Bejeweled leaderboard. And they said he'd never amount to anything...

4 comments

  1. No, it’s not like a sports franchise at all, you’re just a homer for Activision. I hope they paid you to ignore reality and ignore that activision delayed paying people, and then fired them instead of paying them the long overdue money. THAT is the heart of the story.

  2. steven g /

    The story here (reading between the lines) is actually about the control and direction of the Modern Warfare Property. This started way back when Infinity and Treyarch started taking pot shots at each other.

    It seems that Activision wants to do what IT wants with the Modern Warfare concept and this has upset Zampella/West, who probably reacted by looking into their legal and business options. Whether any party acted outside of an agreement/contract will be subject to the courts, and for sure any money owed will come under any future court case (or settlement).

    Whether Zampella/West can wrestle back control over the IP is dubious, but one wonders whether they will be ‘free’ contractually to work on a very similar game within the next two years.

    What a contrast between ActivisionBlizzard’s way of dealing with Infinity Ward when compared to Microsoft Studio’s relationship with Bungie – as a reminder, they LET them go independent last year!

    This will run and run.

  3. Haha. Pachter.

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