U.S. Department of Justice investigates Overwatch League over salary concerns

    
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While Blizzard wants as many eyes as possible on its Overwatch franchise, the studio could probably do without the recent gaze of the U.S. Department of Justice. According to a Kotaku report, the DOJ is probing the studio’s handling of its esports scene — in particular, how it pays its players.

While the DOJ isn’t launching a criminal investigation (yet?), the department has interviewed both the studio and Overwatch League employees about how Blizzard pays the professionals under its umbrella. The studio’s used a “soft salary cap” of an undisclosed amount (rumored to be $1.6 million) that redistributes pay over a certain amount to other franchises if a team earns too much money.

The concern is that this salary cap violates the 1890 Sherman Antitrust Act and could land Blizzard in a lot of hot water — if not a criminal charge, then most definitely increased scrutiny and pressure by the public to hand out fare wages. Activision Blizzard said that it “received an inquiry from the Department of Justice and is cooperating accordingly.”

Source: Kotaku. Thanks Greaterdivinity!
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Lighthope
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Lighthope

How are eSports players being considered “employees” to be under a salary as opposed to winnings earned from a contest?

How is this violating the 1890 Sherman Antitrust Act?

This isn’t a news article. It’s a Facebook post.

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Bruno Brito

Are you talking about Kotaku or MOP?

And isn’t Blizzard being investigated by the DOJ newsworthy?

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Munchmeat2

I had enough with this company. That Twitter fiasco this weekend with Asmongold was the straw that broke the camel’s back for me. I’m done giving this crap company money.

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Adam Russell

Wages? Are these employees? Does Blizzard require them to come to work on time and do what they are told? I can see possibly an antitrust concern, but how does antitrust relate to “fare (sic) wages”?

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Danny Smith

Actiblizzion being absolute shitkings? its must be a weekday.

Turing fail
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Turing fail

Salary cap for employees, obscene bonuses for Bobby the Hutt…

Aldristavan
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Aldristavan

blizzard you in danger girl

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Eliandal

Some ‘investigative’ reporting! No mention at all what the minimum salary is, the median, the average, nothing! But, it’s a Blizzard story so get the ‘angry mob’ clicks quick!

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Vanquesse V

That’s completely besides the point though. Blizzard is breaking the law which is what this article is about.

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angrakhan

The Sherman antitrust act isn’t used to throw people in jail, but rather break up large companies or levy heavy fines. Granted, Blizzard executives are probably more concerned with the latter than the former.

Leo
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Leo

I think a loss to the stock price with any market reaction to an investigation would worry them rich bosses lots too

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Utakata

In a best world where they separate Activision from Blizzard would be ideal at this point. I am pretty sure it won’t go down that way though… /sigh