Today we learned that Activision's request has been approved and Electronic Arts – and the $400 million request for "actual and punitive damages" – has been officially added to the existing countersuit. Also added, or in this case removed, from the cross-complaint: the protective order responsible for many of the redacted sections that Activision insisted were "not truly 'confidential,' but merely embarrassing and damaging to Electronic Arts and its co-conspirators."
The first redacted instance certainly fits that description. In paragraph 36, the following text was struck from the original documents filed last month: "Activision is informed and believes that to protect its weaker BFBC series, EA secretly schemed with West and Zampella to bolster sales of BFBC at the expense of Call of Duty." To back up that claim, an email was provided, and redacted, from the initial claim.
"A couple months ago, I asked Vince to hold back their map pack until after we launched (he owes me one). Given that they've already made a billion, he was cool with that, obviously Kotick took it as being belligerent."- EA's Lincoln Hershberger
One redacted section in paragraph 62 of the counterclaim prefaced the email, writing, "Electronic Arts secretly conspired with Infinity Ward employees to affect the timing of the releae of Electronic Arts and Activision products to the benefit of Electronic Arts and detriment of Activision. Activision's belief is based on an internal EA email bragging about how Electronic Arts asked Zampella to hold back the release of an Infinity Ward product until after Electronic Arts launched its game, and how Zampella 'was cool with that.'"
That Infinity Ward product was the first Modern Warfare 2 map pack, dubbed the "Stimulus Package," ultimately released on Xbox Live on March 30, 2010. The corresponding Electronic Arts product was (the excellent in its own right!) Battlefield: Bad Company 2, which was released on March 2, 2010. An email dated March 2 from EA's Lincoln Hershberger – currently a Senior Director of Global Marketing at Electronic Arts, DICE, according to his LinkedIn page – was a reply with the subject: "RE: The Fall of IW?" It read: "A couple months ago, I asked Vince to hold back their map pack until after we launched (he owes me one). Given that they've already made a billion, he was cool with that, obviously Kotick took it as being belligerent."
The other redacted sections mostly revolve around specific actions related to EA's CEO John Riccitiello, negotiations between EA and West and Zampella, and any deal they may have arrived at. We've transcribed the relevant passages and noted the paragraphs where they exist. The freshly un-redacted counterclaim can be found below. We've reached out to EA for comment.
38: "On August 5, 2009, EA personnel circulated within EA a list of Infinity Ward prospects, including Jason West and dozens of other Infinity Ward employees, for an internal discussion 'on recruiting from Activision (Infinity Ward).'"
41: "the day after he met with Riccitiello"
43: "The follow-up emails between Schappert and Riccitiello were clear that this was more than a social call -- Schappert and Riccitiello were planning to use all of the 'Angles' on West and Zampella and to 'close' a deal."
46: "who was involved in the secret negotiations"
47: "In the second week of November 2009, an EA executive informed Brown that he was meeting 'to discuss deal structures' and would 'get with' Brown later in the week. That same week, Blackley advised Riccitiello: "'We need to talk about our two friends down here -- all is good but its time for a more aggressive approach."
48: "Indeed, they reached the point where not only were specific terms of a deal between West and Zampella and Electronic Aets negotiated, but by the end of November 2010, Electronic Arts had a term sheet prepared for a deal with West and Zampella to set up their own company."
"The specific offer and term sheet was approved by Electronic Arts's executives, and communicated to West and Zampella at the beginning of January 2010."
"Four days after sending the term sheet, a senior Electronic Arts executive told Riccitiello that it was time to 'dial up our efforts on the 'project',' referring to the plot to set up West and Zampella in a competing business aligned with Electronic Arts."
49: "Not only did Electronic Arts make a lucrative offer to key Activision executives under long-term exclusive contracts with Activision ..."
53: "armed with the secret Electronic Arts offer and as part of their plan to steal Infinity Ward for their own personal benefit"
60: "since they knew there was an even more lucrative deal waiting for them from Electronic Arts."
62: "Electronic Arts secretly conspired with Infinity Ward employees to affect the timing of the releae of Electronic Arts and Activision products to the benefit of Electronic Arts and detriment of Activision. Activision's belief is based on an internal EA email bragging about how Electronic Arts asked Zampella to hold back the release of an Infinity Ward product until after Electronic Arts launched its game, and how Zampella 'was cool with that.'"