An Activision employee agreed to hold off releasing a Modern Warfare DLC pack so rival EA could release a game to the market unchallenged, an internal email has alleged.
The unverified claim brings new details to Activision’s previous allegation that two ousted Infinity Ward bosses had been dismissed due to acts of ‘insubordination’.
Vince Zampella, the man named in the internal EA email, was last year discharged from Infinity Ward along with fellow studio head Jason West. The two are locked into an ongoing lawsuit against Activision.
A document, released today as part of that lawsuit, appears to show an EA executive brag about getting Zampella to delay DLC content so an EA game could be released to market with less commercial challenge.
“A couple months ago, I asked Vince to hold back their map pack until after we launched. (He owes me one)”, read the EA executive’s email in the legal document, as seen by news sites Joystiq and Kotaku.
Lincoln Hershberger, senior director of global marketing at Electronic Arts’ DICE studio, is said to have written the email to EA Games label president Frank Gibeau, as well as other EA executives.
The note continues: “Given that they’ve already made a billion, he [Zampella] was cool with that, obviously [Activision CEO, Bobby] Kotick took it as being belligerent.”
The email was dated March 2, the day DICE’s Battlefield Bad Company 2 hit retail in the US and 28 days before the ‘Stimulus’ map pack for Modern Warfare 2 went on sale for the Xbox 360.
Neither Zampella nor the other people named have commented on the precise meaning of the email, and if it is real or not.
An EA public relations manager has claimed the sentiment of the court evidence has been mistaken.
Spokesperson Jeff Brown said the content of the email “was obviously sarcasm”, and did not claim the correspondence was fake.
The email suggests Kotick had suspected Zampella’s intentions in delaying Modern Warfare 2’s DLC.
It was revealed today that a judge has allowed the court case of Zampella and West versus Activision to now include EA as a defendant.
Activision is suing the publisher $400 million for “actual and punitive damages”, according to Joystiq.