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What is the cost of creativity? Activision contracts with Bungie revealed to public
Posted on May 22, 2012 by Paige Carlson


On April 16, 2010 a contract between Activision Blizzard Inc. and Bungie Inc. went into effect, and though the contract may have been amended since then, the lawsuit between Jason West and Vincent Zampella and Activision has opened up the 27 page contract to the public. The contract has been described as a way for Activision to save face during the lawsuits against the two former employees, West and Zampella, who had been fired a month earlier.

The deal involves Bungie developing an original game series consisting of four “sci-fantasy, action shooter games” under the codename “Destiny”. The games are contracted to be released every other year starting fall of 2013 for the Xbox 360 and its successor. The contract also includes four downloadable expansion packs under the name “Comet” to be released every four years starting fall of 2014. Later the games will be made available for Xbox consoles, the successor to the PlayStation 3, and the PC.

Bungie would earn 20% to 35% of the operating income which is described as income left over after development, production, and marketing are taken out. If budget and quality milestones are met, Activision would also pay Bungie $2.5 million a year between 2010 and 2013. Receiving a 90 or better out of 100 on would earn Bunge another $2.5 million. While under contract, Bungie has agreed to spend no more than 5% of its time on an action-shooter prototype to be the successor to the cult classic Marathon game that had been released in 1994 on the Mac. The full contract is available to read online.

The contract was made public as a part of the lawsuit that involves the Call of Duty franchise as a way of demonstrating the cost of firing West and Zampella. The two former employees accepted a smaller royalty in exchange for creative freedom. Both Activision and West and Zampella estimate roughly $1 billion in damages, with West and Zampella arguing they are entitled to compensation for the “value of [their] creative authority.” The trial is set for May 29. 

Souce:  L.A. Times

Paige Carlson - Staff Writer paige (@) | all author's articles

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