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THQ sues EA, Zuffa over loss of UFC license

Thursday, 10th October 2013 00:28 GMT By Brenna Hillier

THQ has filed a complaint against UFC parent company Zuffa and EA over the transfer of the UFC game license, accusing EA of unscrupulous behaviour.

In a a complaint in the Delaware District Court [PDF], THQ said it held “several discussions” with EA in late 2011 about selling the license to the latter publisher.

During these talks, THQ says it provided EA with confidential information, including sales, revenue and expected marketing costs of THQ’s UFC games.

At the end of the year, UFC parent company Zuffa contacted THQ to discuss terminating its license, and THQ claims Zuffa had access to information which could only have been supplied by EA thanks to earlier negotiations between the two publishers.

THQ believes this proves EA held discussions with THQ then sneakily went directly to Zuffa to try and arrange a direct sale, which would be more beneficial to EA and Zuffa, at THQ’s expense.

It’s an unpleasant act of collusion, if true, but it also means that the eventual transfer of the UFC license to EA was fraudulent under US bankruptcy law, apparently, and that EA is guilty of “torturous interference”.

The UFC license is worth at least $20 million, THQ claims – twice the $10 million Zuffa paid out to end its agreement with THQ. THQ is therefore seeking minimum damages of $10 million as well as the return of the property; any profits EA has made on the UFC license; and for the court to disallow Zuffa’s $1.96 million bankruptcy claims on THQ.

EA’s first UFC game is expected on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in northern spring 2014; we’ve been quite looking forward to it as it’s built on EA Sports’ shiny new Ignite Engine and is even going to have female fighters.

Elsewhere in the court documents, EA is revealed as one of a number of publishers who discussed buying THQ out prior to its eventual bankruptcy and dissolution; Polygon has more details if you’re interested.

Thanks, Polygon.

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7 Comments

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  1. Bowser

    I had no idea THQ still existed.

    #1 9 months ago
  2. salarta

    Sorry to do this, but is it really supposed to be torturous interference, or is it supposed to be tortuous? I assume the latter, but could be a reason for it being the former I don’t know of.

    #2 9 months ago
  3. DSB

    It’s actually supposed to be tortious.

    I don’t know. All corporations are predatory. This seems a bit like handing out speeding tickets at the Indy 500. If you were gonna make every dick move illegal, then the US economy would die overnight.

    I guess the fact that it pertains to bankruptcies means that you aren’t supposed to kick people while they’re down. When they’re standing, you should absolutely kick them in the face as much as you like, though.

    US legislation <3333

    #3 9 months ago
  4. AmiralPatate

    “THQ is therefore seeking minimum damages of $10 million as well as the return of the property”
    “the return of the property”

    Wait… what?

    #4 9 months ago
  5. salarta

    @4: THQ had the video game license for UFC, EA pretended to want to purchase the license from THQ, EA used inside information provided by THQ to negotiate a deal with UFC’s owners directly, UFC’s owners then terminated the license with THQ to get a better one with EA based on the information EA supplied to them.

    As a result, THQ wants money they would’ve gotten if the deal had not been terminated, as well as getting back the video game license to UFC.

    #5 9 months ago
  6. AmiralPatate

    No, I understand the whole “they took it from us” thing, but I thought THQ was dead. What good would the license to do them if they can’t do anything with it?
    Besides, if there were other companies included in the talks, maybe it’s one of those. Or maybe Zuffa somehow saw that THQ was a sinking ship.

    #6 9 months ago
  7. salarta

    @6: From what I can see, THQ is technically still around, just that its properties were all sold off. If nothing else, I’m sure THQ re-acquiring the UFC license would mean they could then sell it to another company. Whether they could or not, I’m guessing the people still at THQ are at the point where they may want to punish EA and UFC for corrupt dealings, and if THQ can’t re-sell the license to another company (likely one that isn’t EA), they could hold onto it which would prevent future games.

    All purely guessing and speculation on my part, based only on what I’ve seen.

    #7 9 months ago