US Justice Department, Activision Blizzard Settle Following Esport Wage Suppression Accusations

On Monday, the U.S. Justice Department filed a complaint in the district of Columbia accusing embattled publisher Activision Blizzard of suppressing the wages and compensations of esports players, a matter which has reportedly already been settled.

The Justice Department alleged that Activision Blizzard limited competition for professional players of Call of Duty and Overwatch in esports leagues by implementing a “competitive balance tax”. This would penalise a team if player compensations were to exceed a specific threshold (set by Activision Blizzard), effectively functioning as a salary cap.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Activision Blizzard said, in part, that: “We have always believed, and still believe, that the Competitive Balance Tax was lawful, and it did not have an adverse impact on player salaries. The tax was never levied, and the leagues voluntarily dropped it from our rules in 2021.”

Activision Blizzard has re-committed to “being a leader in the esports industry and creating opportunities for players to earn fair pay and benefits”, in addition to not implementing the competitive balance tax or any other kind of caps or limits on the salaries of esports players in the future.

In other Activision Blizzard news, the ongoing acquisition story appears to be coming to some kind of end, with UK regulators no longer concerned it will have a significant impact on console competition.

What do you think of this flash-in-the-pan legal distraction? Hire the best lawyers money can buy before descending into the comments section below.



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