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Activision Blizzard Swiftly Settles DOJ Suit

 |  April 3, 2023

The US Department of Justice has settled a lawsuit it filed Monday with Activision Blizzard over suppressed eSports wages, according to Reuters.

The case was presented in the US District Court for the District of Columbia and concerns a rule that imposed double payment on independently owned teams if they exceeded a soft salary cap. The settlement is subject to approval by a federal judge.

The lawsuit, filed in the US District Court for the District of Columbia, alleged that a tax levied against teams that paid their players more than the Activision-set cap illegally kept down wages for professional players of the video games Call of Duty and Overwatch.
According to a court filing by the department, Activision Blizzard and independently owned teams enforced a tax that operated as a salary cap and penalized teams for paying esports players above a certain threshold. This tax also limited player compensation in leagues centered around Overwatch and Call of Duty games.

Related: The US Department Of Justice Files Antitrust Suit Against Activision Blizzard

“Video games and esports are among the most popular and fastest growing forms of entertainment in the world today, and professional esports players—like all workers—deserve the benefits of competition for their services. Activision’s conduct prevented that from happening,” said Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter from the DOJ’s Antitrust Division. “Today’s lawsuit makes clear that the Antitrust Division remains committed to protecting workers across all types of industries from anticompetitive conduct.”

The Federal Trade Commission, which works with the Justice Department to enforce antitrust law, moved to block Microsoft’s $69 billion bid to buy “Call of Duty” maker Activision Blizzard in December.