Activision faces $680M lawsuit from Call of Duty esports pros over allegedly monopolist tourney terms


The way in which Activision has been managing its esports tournaments for Call of Duty is now undergoing legal scrutiny, as last week saw a lawsuit filed by some of the shooter’s top esports players who accuse the company of monopolist terms that they must agree to in order to join official events.

The suit, filed by pro players Hector “H3CZ” Rodriguez and Seth “Scump” Abner, alleges that once control of COD tourneys was taken over by Activision, the company enacted new terms that required players to agree to not take outside endorsements or sponsorships if they wanted to compete, while the suit argues that playing COD esports is “the esport equivalent of professional football” and that its best players earn the most profit from sponsorships, endorsements, and social media attention.

Rodriguez claims in the suit that his partnership with Activision ended up with his being under the demands of billionaire investors who wanted a 92.5% ownership share in his company on top of paying exorbitant entry fees and sharing portions of his arranged investor sponsorship with Activision – an arrangement that he argued was “financially devastating.” The complaint also argues that Activision’s sole ownership of the league and the COD trademark was forced on pro team owners and players, with an alleged aim at controlling the “downstream” pro gaming market.

An Activision spokesperson called Rodriguez’s and Scump’s lawsuit “meritless,” claiming that the complaint was only filed after the pair were denied the “tens of millions” they demanded from the company. “We are disappointed that these members of the esports community would bring this suit which is disruptive to team owners, players, fans, and partners who have invested so much time and energy into the Call of Duty League’s success,” reads part of the statement.

Both pros are asking for over $680M in damages collectively.

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