The 14 Most Scandalous Legal Battles in Gaming History

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Non-Competition Employment Contracts in Gaming

Trendy Entertainment vs Studio Wildcard (2016)

Studio Wildcard, who made the hit dinosaur game Ark: Survival Evolved, was sued in 2015 by rival studio Trendy Entertainment. The basis for the lawsuit was that Jeremy Stieglitz broke a one-year non-compete agreement he signed with his previous employer, Trendy Entertainment, when he became an integral part of Studio Wildcard’s Ark development team.

There was a lot of bad blood just after his departure, when, as Kotaku reported, Trendy’s lawyers sent him a cease and desist letter alleging that he had been poaching their employees for his own gaming studio.

This meant that he had broken another clause in his original contract of employment that prevented him from soliciting Trendy’s employees. Studio Wildcard refuted the allegations, responding that Stieglitz only acted as a consultant. Following a mediation between the parties at Trendy’s request, the lawsuit was settled out of court in April 2016 for an undisclosed sum.

Reading your contract of employment is very important -- and clearly Stieglitz was aware of the termsc because Kotaku reported that he allegedly negotiated the the non-compete clause from three years down to one.

At least the parties reached a settlement before the case had to be dragged through the mud in the courtroom. But Studio Wildcard may be in need of more money though regardless, as apparently the price of its upcoming survival game has doubled ahead of its full launch.

Published Jul. 6th 2017

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