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OpTic Gaming CEO and former player file $680M lawsuit against Activision Blizzard

Posted : 19 February 2024

OpTic Gaming CEO Hector 'H3cz' Rodriguez and former Call of Duty player Seth 'Scump' Abner have filed a lawsuit against Activision Blizzard, alleging monopolistic, trade-restraining, and anti-competitive actions. The lawsuit claims that Activision Blizzard's actions led to significant financial harm to Rodriguez and his business ventures.


It further asserts that Activision refused to allow Rodriguez to be the sole owner of a Call of Duty League (CDL) team and seeks over $680 million in damages. The lawsuit focuses on the acquisition of Major League Gaming (MLG), the streaming rights deal with YouTube, OpTic's merger with Envy, and team ownership issues in the CDL.


The lawsuit argues that Activision, through the MLG acquisition in 2016, established a monopoly over the professional Call of Duty market, compelling teams to play in the CDL on terms dictated by Activision. It also addresses the exclusive streaming rights deal with Google-owned YouTube, suggesting it would have been more financially beneficial for players and teams to have the CDL broadcast on multiple networks or Twitch.


Notably, the lawsuit claims that Rodriguez was forced to merge OpTic Gaming with Envy, as Activision denied him the opportunity to be the sole owner of OpTic in the CDL, resulting in Envy Gaming, Inc. obtaining a 92.5% ownership share in OpTic.


Rodriguez contends that if Activision had allowed him, he would have operated his own team in the CDL and not partnered with Envy. The lawsuit alleges that an Activision executive told Rodriguez he was not the type of owner they wanted for the league and needed partners who aligned with Activision's ideal or leave the Call of Duty market.


Activision responded, stating they would strongly defend against the claims, characterizing the lawsuit as meritless and disruptive to the esports community, team owners, players, fans, and partners invested in the CDL's success. The outcome of the lawsuit and potential implications for the Call of Duty League remain uncertain.


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