Activision Blizzard Settles Justice Department Lawsuit, Agrees Not to Limit eSport Player Salaries

Activision Blizzard settled a lawsuit with the U.S. Section of Justice about allegations that the publisher imposed a restrict on esports players’ salaries compensated by the Overwatch and Get in touch with of Duty leagues.

The office filed the grievance in the U.S. District Courtroom in Washington, D.C. on Monday, stating that Activision Blizzard, which owns the Overwatch League and the Call of Obligation League, and the independently owned teams agreed to impose the Aggressive Harmony Tax. As its name indicates, the tax was developed to restrict levels of competition amongst the groups by suppressing the wages of esports gamers and fined teams for paying gamers earlier mentioned a particular threshold set by Activision Blizzard, which the department reported violated the Sherman Act.

The DOJ extra that Activision Blizzard dropped its salary limit procedures in October 2021 next its investigation into the Competitive Equilibrium Tax.

“The tax was never ever levied, and the leagues voluntarily dropped it from our rules in 2021,” Activision reported in a statement (for each Reuters). “We have usually considered, and nevertheless consider, that the Aggressive Harmony Tax was lawful, and it did not have an adverse affect on gamers.”

The criticism reported that the tax affected each and every esports participant because the inception of every single league — the Overwatch League began in 2018, while the Phone of Duty League commenced in 2020 — specially gamers with larger salaries. This is since, as opposed to other professional esports players who agreed to income restrictions as a result of the collective bargaining system, players in the Overwatch and Get in touch with of Duty leagues had been not element of a union nor did they negotiate wage procedures.

For every the settlement, Activision Blizzard agreed not to impose any wage restrictions on the esports players in its leagues nor good the teams for paying high salaries to specific players. However, the settlement even now desires to be accepted by a federal decide for it to choose effect.

The settlement is the newest in a sequence of lawful troubles struggling with Activision Blizzard. The Countrywide Labor Relations Board (NLRB) filed a grievance in opposition to the publisher very last Friday more than allegations of illegal surveillance of staff members and other labor law violations, together with threatening to shut down conversation channels.

Cristina Alexander is a freelance writer for IGN. She has contributed her get the job done to several publications, such as Digital Developments, TheGamer, Twinfinite, Mega Visions, and The Escapist. To paraphrase Calvin Harris, she wears her appreciate for Sonic the Hedgehog on her sleeve like a huge offer. Follow her on Twitter @SonicPrincess15.