Star Trek Game Lawsuit

Activision Files Breach of Contract Lawsuit Against Viacom (thanks Frans) reports a lawsuit that "Cites Viacom's Lack of Support for 'Star Trek' Movie and Television Franchise and Failure to Cooperate With Activision." Here's a portion describing the legalities involved:
In its complaint, which was filed in the Superior Court of the State of California on June 30, 2003, Activision accused Viacom of breaching its fundamental promise to continue exploiting the Star Trek franchise consistent with its practice at the time the agreement was signed in 1998. "Activision cannot successfully develop and sell Star Trek video games without the product exploitation and support promised by Viacom. A continuing pipeline of movie and television production, and related marketing, is absolutely crucial to the success of video games based on a property such as Star Trek," charged Activision in its court filings.

However, through its actions and inactions, Viacom has let the once proud Star Trek franchise stagnate and decay. Viacom has released only one "Star Trek" movie since entering into agreement with Activision and has recently informed Activision it has no current plans for further "Star Trek" films. Viacom also has allowed two "Star Trek" television series to go off the air and the remaining series suffers from weak ratings. Viacom also frustrated Activision's efforts to coordinate the development and marketing of its games with Viacom's development and marketing of its new movies and television series.
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The issue...
Jul 2, 2003, 11:17
Eon
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The issue... Jul 2, 2003, 11:17
Jul 2, 2003, 11:17
Eon
 
I take it you guys know that the development / marketing budget on a game are supposed to be roughly equal, right? Basically, by creating lots of new original content in the Star Trek universe, and giving Activision access to marketing materials from this new content, Viacom were picking up a sizable portion of that tab. And the best bit about it is that they would have done so simply in the process of creating and pushing their new shows.

See, games have to be set around events and characters within the Star Trek universe - and I'm sure you've noticed how doing so, whilst staying true to canon is pretty difficult. Hell - look at Elite Force! A group of Commando's who do the infantry and hazmat work, within a community the size of Voyagers, and never mentioned in any of the shows? That stretches credibility a LOT - and there have only been two games set in that franchise! With more original content, the designer gets to dip in here and there and, like a spider on a web, spread his weight out to avoid too many broken strands.

None of that will happen now - the pool of Star Trek content is vanishingly small, and the popularity of the series is waning amongst devotees and mainstream fans alike. This is nothing but bad news for a company that probably paid mucho dineros for the licensing rights. Whilst it's not fair that Viacom be beaten around the face and neck with a broken bottle, it's entirely fair that Activision recover the cash they spent to secure the licensing. This will mean that they can spend this cash on new product based around OTHER licenses or even, heaven forfend, some original product. Who knows?

The suit is bang on - one side has not lived up to their commitments.


Eon

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