EA dispute cost studio Slitherine "tens of thousands of dollars"
Posted: 14.09.2011 11:52 by Simon Priest Comments: 5
Strategy house Slitherine has lost "tens of thousands of dollars" and a "big commercial opportunity" because of their casual title Battlefield Academy.

Slitherine were "caught in the middle" because it was a BBC brand, and the UK broadcaster "wasn't prepared to start a fight" with EA. They chose to rebrand.

EA took offense to the word Battlefield being used in the title published by Slitherine. The UK publisher had a deal with BBC History for Battlefield Academy, which was a flash game, and released a casual strategy title by that name for PC in 2010.

A month later EA claimed it was infringing on their Battlefield series from DICE, and their legal action halted release of Battlefield Academy for PSP, Mac, iPad, Xbox 360 and DS.

"We were caught in the middle because it was a BBC brand. They've been really helpful but the BBC wasn't prepared to start at fight with EA for a minor wargame," said Slitherine's Marco Minoli. "But we couldn't change the name because it was a licence we acquired."

Production of the game stopped during the dispute which was settled in July this year. In the end the legal tussle was won by financial attrition - EA simply had deeper pockets.

"We decided that for purely financial reasons it was best to reach an accommodation with EA. It caused a lot of problems and has been difficult, we had to rebrand the game entirely. It cost us tens of thousands of dollars and we lost a big commercial opportunity."

"We missed out on the PSP game, it was already in submission at Sony, but it took so long that now we're trying for the PS Vita instead," added the marketing director.

The strategy series has been renamed to BBC Battle Academy, and the publisher hopes new demos and an Operation Market Garden add-on can get interest back, although "when you lose momentum like that it's difficult to get back," admitted Minoli.

"I guess what we learned was copyright infringement is based on how deep your pockets are, not who's right and wrong." Slitherine describe the turn-based strategy as an "approachable war game that found an audience outside of our niche gaming fans."

Check out Slitherine's website for more information on BBC Battle Academy.

Related games: Battle Academy (PC)
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By unsilviu (SI Core) on Sep 14, 2011
Are they kidding? Battlefield is a noun, if they make Chairs: the FPS do they expect to have copyright on the word chair? This sounds very similar to Mojang's and Bethesda's "Scrolls"
By nocutius (SI Elite) on Sep 14, 2011
This really is ridiculous, it's like Apple suing over the word app. It would make some sense if the game was an FPS but a turn based strategy?
The game was called Battlefield academy not Battlefield:Academy.

Lame of you EA.
By JPerry06 (SI Core) on Sep 14, 2011
love the music in the video ha

Does seem a bit silly about the lawsuit but that is just the world we live in now days i think
By SirRoderick (SI Elite) on Sep 14, 2011
Absolutely ridiculous, but honestly who wouldn't see that coming?
By herodotus (SI Herodotus) on Sep 14, 2011
Crazy stuff, and I never linked the two when looking through Slitherine's catalogue. I'll bet they and the BBC knew, so a cheeky though short-lived swipe at Big Gaming (as in "Big Tobacco).
"Battle Academy" sounds just as cool, though and the games are really quite engaging. I've only tried "Market Garden" so far, as Slitherine prices along with Matrix's are pretty over-the-top.