It will take a long time for the full picture of Activision and Infinity Ward’s dispute to be painted, but a more immediate effect is one that gamers most certainly will notice – potential delays to Modern Warfare 3.
As part of Activision’s counter-lawsuit aimed at former Infinity Ward bosses Jason West and Vincent Zampella, the publisher has alleged that the problems have delayed development of the anticipated war shooter.
Aside from the vast legal costs Activision is already facing, any disruption to the biannual release of Modern Warfare titles will inevitably dent the firm’s revenue projections and, as a result, share price.
It could also cost the wider industry, as the release of Modern Warfare 2 late last year gave Q4 a record-breaking boost. Without it, year-on-year sales comparisons would have been even gloomier for the world’s games retailers.
A number of other allegations from the lawsuit have also been published by MCV’s sister site Develop, including:
"openly discussing their intention to leave IW with IW employees;
"arranging meetings with IW employees to discuss the willingness of such employees to leave IW and join West and Zampella at a spin off studio;
"threatening to harm the IP developed by IW and owned by Activision if their demands to be allowed to leave Activision were not met;
"engaging in a campaign to portray Activision and its management in a negative light to IW employees in an effort to solicit those employees;
"refusing to abide by Activision procedures and protocols;
"attempting to block IW employees from receiving equity grands, bonuses and financial compensation and incentives;
"asking Activision to allow them to keep for themselves millions of dollars of discretionary compensation that Activision intended to offer to the broader IW team;
"secretly meeting Activision's main competitor; and delaying pre-production of MW3 and attempting to use that delay as leverage in their negotiations with Activision".