Activision and Electronic Arts settle lawsuit

Wed May 16, 2012 9:06pm EDT

John Riccitiello, CEO of Electronic Arts, addresses attendees during the International CTIA WIRELESS Conference & Exposition in New Orleans, Louisiana May 9, 2012. REUTERS/Sean Gardner

John Riccitiello, CEO of Electronic Arts, addresses attendees during the International CTIA WIRELESS Conference & Exposition in New Orleans, Louisiana May 9, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Sean Gardner

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(Reuters) - Activision Blizzard Inc and arch rival video game company Electronic Arts Inc have settled a lawsuit in which Activision accused two former executives of breaking their employment agreements to develop games for EA.

"Activision and EA have agreed to put this matter behind them," the companies said on Wednesday in a joint statement. Neither company disclosed details of the settlement.

Two former Activision executives, Jason West and Vincent Zampella, developed the original "Call of Duty" game and several others in the series.

After leaving Activision in 2010, West and Zampella formed a new development studio, Respawn Entertainment, and signed an exclusive publishing and distribution deal with EA.

Activision said EA executives urged West and Zampella to meet with them, and enlisted intermediaries to help, even though West and Zampella were under contract with Activision.

West and Zampella sued Activision over their dismissal and sought $36 million in royalty payments and damages. Activision then counter-sued, seeking $400 million in actual and punitive damages from EA and the former executives.

Activision Blizzard is the world's largest stand-alone game publisher. Electronic Arts, which made its name on sports games, publishes titles like "FIFA 12 " and "Need for Speed."

West and Zampella have not reached a settlement with Activision. Their trial is scheduled for May 29 in a Los Angeles state court.

An attorney for the two former Activision executives could not be reached immediately for comment on Wednesday.

The case in Superior Court of the State of California, Los Angeles County is Jason West v Activision Publishing, No. SC107041.

(Reporting by Dan Levine; Editing by Gary Hill and Paul Tait)

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