Turbine sues Atari over Dungeons and Dragons Online licensing

Stick with us, because this could get confusing: Courthouse News reports that Turbine – the Massachusetts-based developer behind the Dungeon and Dragons Online MMO – is suing Atari, publisher of the title. At issue is Turbine's claim that Atari has "breached a licensing agreement" related to the development of the free-to-play Dungeons and Dragons Online Unlimited. Turbine says that while it has spent millions developing the franchise "and continues to invest money to operate and maintain the service," Atari "acted unreasonably in its efforts to promote and distribute [Dungeons and Dragons Online] and failed to devote the necessary resources to it."

So, Atari continued to accept payments ("including future royalty payments") from Turbine for the Dungeons and Dragons Online "sublicense" though, Turbine alleges, Atari had a "strategy" to either "terminate Turbine as part of a shakedown" or "proceed with termination in bad faith to benefit from its own competing product at Turbine's expense." We can assume that "competing product" is Atari's upcoming Champions Online MMO, being developed by its recently acquired in-house MMO dev Cryptic Studios.

So, to recap: Atari wants to terminate the license agreement with Turbine to develop and maintain the Dungeons and Dragons Online MMO franchise, including the just-announced "Unlimited" free-to-play variant. Turbine says that such a termination threatens its "past investment" in the franchise and the "goodwill" it's developed with the DDO playerbase, and those they expect to play DDO Unlimited. And now, it's up to the courts!

[Thanks, Mark]

This article was originally published on Joystiq.