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February 16, 2024

Activision Faces $680 Million Lawsuit Over CoD Esports Monopoly

Liam Fletcher
Written byLiam FletcherWriter
Researched byHaruki NakamuraResearcher

Activision, the publisher of Call of Duty (CoD), is currently facing a $680 million lawsuit from CDL team owners and personalities. The lawsuit alleges that Activision holds an "unlawful monopoly" over the CoD esports landscape.

Activision Faces $680 Million Lawsuit Over CoD Esports Monopoly

Allegations of Coercion and Unfair Practices

The lawsuit, filed in Los Angeles federal court, includes prominent figures such as OpTic Texas president and OpTic Gaming founder Hector "H3CZ" Rodriguez and CoD legend Seth "Scump" Abner. According to the suit, Activision used its power to coerce founding CDL teams into paying a $27.5 million entry fee and took 50 percent of the revenue generated by teams from tickets, sponsorships, and other sources.

Exclusive Rights and Prohibited Participation

The lawsuit also claims that Activision had the "exclusive right" to contract with sponsors and broadcasters, preventing teams and players from participating in or supporting any professional Call of Duty leagues or tournaments other than the CDL. This includes any "commercialized" gameplay, such as informal friendly matches on stream. These contractual provisions allegedly enriched Activision at the expense of the professional Call of Duty League players and teams.

Impact on Team Owners and Players

The lawsuit highlights the impact on team owners and players. For example, H3CZ was unable to rejoin the CDL with the reacquired OpTic as a "sole owner" of a team, leading to a partnership with Envy in a groundbreaking merger. Both H3CZ and Scump allegedly lost out on various revenue opportunities due to the CDL.

Acquisition and Monopoly

Furthermore, the lawsuit alleges that Activision Blizzard acquired competitor Major League Gaming in 2016 without the approval of the US Federal Trade Commission, solidifying its "complete monopoly" over the professional CoD scene. Activision also refused to grant CoD licenses to organizers of other commercial competitions. The FTC has previously attempted to block Microsoft's acquisition of Activision Blizzard.

The Future of CDL

The CDL, which started its fifth season in December, is now facing an uncertain future due to the lawsuit. The competition has been on pause and is scheduled to restart with Major Two qualifiers on Thursday, Feb. 16.

Takeaway

The $680 million lawsuit against Activision highlights the alleged unfair practices and monopoly in the CoD esports landscape. The outcome of the lawsuit could have significant implications for the CDL and the future of professional Call of Duty competitions. It remains to be seen how this legal battle will unfold and what changes it may bring to the industry.

About the author
Liam Fletcher
Liam Fletcher
About

Liam "CyberScribe" Fletcher, a Kiwi with a flair for fast-paced gameplay and articulate narratives, has emerged as a prominent voice at EsportRanker. Diving deep into the esports universe, Liam crafts comprehensive reviews, strategic insights, and captivating tales from behind the screens.

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