Codemasters goes legal over stolen staff

Monday, 10th May 2010 12:18 GMT By Johnny Cullen


Codemasters has accused of upstart Playground Games of stealing staff from the firm to create a new racing game.

In a writ for the High Court, Codies named 15 people who moved to Playground, having previously been given confidential access to information at the company, meaning the new dev had up to a year’s head start on its racing title: one of those 15 included is co-founder of Codemasters, Nicholas Wheelwright.

The firm now insists the situation has impeded the development of its own racing titles, and is now seeking damages and/or an account of profits from Playground’s in the timeline of its actions.

“Those employees constituted a ready-made top-rate racing games development team. Between them they had some 100 years of experience in creating, developing and producing first-class computer racing games,” the writ from the company writes.

Thanks, Edge.



  1. WizardWeb

    It all depends what was in Wheelwrights contract. If there’s a no-poach clause (there normally is) and he acted in defiance of it, then Codemasters has a claim. But it’s really hard to prove that an employee was approached by a new employer rather than the employee approaching a new employer. Especially if the new employer knew the employees, it arguable that they approached him as they enjoyed working with him before. In which case Codemasters won’t win.

    If 15 people voluntarily left a company, then there’s nothing the company can do. They should have protected themselves with long notice periods/gardening leave. Even so, 10yrs of working in the incestuous industry that is telecoms, I’ve never heard of anyone successfully prosecuted for poaching, but I have seen almost entire teams move to a new company.

    #1 5 years ago
  2. Bulk Slash

    Yep, I would expect Codemasters to be as powerless to stop this as Activision was to stop Respawn nicking the best from IW.

    #2 5 years ago

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