Game/media publisher Genius Products and DJ technology company Numark have announced a lawsuit against former partner and Scratch game developer 7 Studios and publisher Activision, alleging that Activision has acquired the developer to prevent the game's debut before the rival DJ Hero.
According to an official press statement released to Gamasutra, Scratch DJ Game LLC, which is a joint venture of Line Rider publisher Genius Products and Numark, filed legal action against Activision Publishing, 7 Studios and its CEO Lewis Peterson.
The suit "...alleges that Activision has engaged in intentional interference with contract, breach of contract, conversion and misappropriation of trade secrets obtained from Genius to purchase 7 Studios, which is under contract to develop the much anticipated new Hip Hop video game, Scratch: The Ultimate DJ (“Scratch”)."
This announcement is the first indication that 7 Studios had been purchased by Activision, although Gamasutra understands that the developer has been working on other projects with Activision division Luxoflux in recent months.
Moreover the suit alleges that Activision and 7 Studios "...have conspired to withhold the current version of Scratch in an effort to delay the development and release of Scratch and to gain access to proprietary technology."
In addition to substantial damages, Scratch DJ Game LLC is asking the court to order the game’s immediate return, and other injunctive relief.
The release from Genius and Numark goes on to claim that: "Prior to undertaking these wrongful actions, Activision approached Genius with an offer to acquire Scratch. The offer was rejected. It is alleged that Activision then commenced the process of acquiring Genius’ contract developer, 7 Studios, while under a non-disclosure and confidentiality agreement with Genius."
It is also alleged that after Activision acquired 7 Studios, the two companies began conspiring to prevent Scratch from getting to market on a timely basis by withholding work product, code, and the proprietary game controller.
"We believe that Activision realizes the tremendous opportunity that our game, Scratch, represents to the video game industry, the retail marketplace and the consumer. After demonstrating our game, pursuant to the confidentiality agreement with Activision, we believe Activision concluded that Scratch: the Ultimate DJ is a superior offering to their prospective game, DJ Hero," stated Trevor Drinkwater, President and CEO of Genius Products, Inc.
"We believe that Activision and 7 Studios have improperly used confidential information obtained from Genius and 7 Studios to interfere with our efforts to complete the game. In short, we believe that Activision is attempting to sabotage the release of our much anticipated game and prevent it from getting to market prior to the release of DJ Hero."
Jack O'Donnell, Chief Executive Officer of Numark, added, "We also firmly believe the recent actions by 7 Studios are an obvious breach of the development agreement and we look forward to receiving our work product and property back, and completing and successfully launching our game on schedule."
Gamasutra recently interviewed Genius Products' Mike Rubinelli about Scratch and its prospects. We've also reached out to Activision for comment on the allegations.