Activision Blizzard Sued Over eSports Salaries




/ 11 months ago
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Activision Blizzard has been sued by the US government over the salaries of their esports players citing a violation of antitrust laws.

Department of Justice Sues Activision Blizzard

In a report from gamesindustry.biz it has been revealed that the US Department of Justice has filed a civil suit against Activision Blizzard and has accused them of violating the Sherman Antitrust Act. The Government says that the company has rules for its Overwatch and Call of Duty League that keeps players’ salaries down, the specific rule was the “Competitive Balance Tax”. This tax is intended to penalize teams if they spent more on players’ salaries than the amount that had been decided by Activision Blizzard.

In the lawsuit, which you can read here, the US Government claimed

The Tax, which effectively operated as a salary cap, penalized teams for paying esports players above a certain threshold and limited player compensation in these leagues. This conduct had the purpose and effect of limiting competition between the teams in each league for esports players and suppressed esports players’ wages.
This conduct violates Section 1 of the Sherman Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1, and should be enjoined.

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Activision Blizzard Statement

Activision Blizzard denied these charges and when approached by Brendan Sinclair of gamesindustry.biz, Activision Blizzard claimed:

“We have always believed, and still believe, that the Competitive Balance Tax was lawful, and it did not have an adverse impact on player salaries. The tax was never levied, and the leagues voluntarily dropped it from our rules in 2021.”

This all seems a bit unfair for professional esports players and I wouldn’t be surprised if Activision Blizzard were mugging their players off, especially considering the publisher’s recent issues. Within the same day, April 3rd, the company agreed to a settlement to the case.

What do you think of this? Let us know in the comments.


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