Activision Threatens EA For Agreeing To Publish Game Activision Dropped

from the once-it's-dropped,-it-stays-dropped,-dammit dept

Reader Nick sends in the news of a story that reminds us of The Watchmen saga, whereby Fox got paid for doing nothing, while Warner Bros., who made the movie and took on all the risk, had to pay out. In this case, it involves a video game, Brutal Legend. The game was developed by a development studio named Double Fine, with an agreement by Vivendi Games to publish it. However, after Vivendi Games and Activision merged, the combined company decided to drop a bunch of projects, including Brutal Legend. So, Double Fine did what any development house would have done: went in search of another company to publish it. And it found one, in gaming giant EA.

Except, now, Activision has sent a nastygram to EA saying that it still owns the rights to publish Brutal Legend, and EA is infringing on those rights. Of course, Activision has still made it clear that it actually has no intention of releasing the game, which doesn't match with its current focus. Instead, this is a pretty clear money grab -- trying to get EA to pay up. EA seems to have a good response, though:
We doubt that Activision would try to sue. That would be like a husband abandoning his family and then suing after his wife meets a better looking guy.

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    Killer_Tofu (profile), 16 Feb 2009 @ 1:05pm


    While I usually hate EA in general, I would side with them on this. I think their response is pretty funny too, so they get some points for that.

    Taking a wider view, allowing such actions like Fox & Activision are pulling here creates a very very bad incentive in the marketplace.
    It is saying that the large publishing companies can go around and sign every single deal they want to, and then just drop all of them they do not feel like releasing.
    Then when somebody else likes the idea and goes to publish, they will get paid because they signed the initial agreement. Talk about horrible incentives. EA is very very much so in the right side on this, from just about every possible view (except maybe a poorly written law or the greedy jerks who stand to benefit).

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