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    OpTic's H3CZ and Scump Take on Activision: The $680 Million Call of Duty Clash

      TL;DR: OpTic Gaming's H3CZ and former CoD pro Scump have sued Activision Blizzard for over $680 million, accusing the company of monopolistic practices within the Call of Duty League. The lawsuit highlights issues like enforced mergers, streaming rights deals, and challenges faced by Rodriguez in owning a CDL team. Activision has dismissed the claims, promising a strong defense against what it views as disruptive litigation. The outcome of this case could significantly impact the esports community and the future of professional Call of Duty competitions.

    OpTic Gaming's CEO Hector 'H3CZ' Rodriguez and former Call of Duty professional player Seth 'Scump' Abner have initiated legal action against Activision Blizzard. The lawsuit, unveiled by Bloomberg Law, accuses the gaming giant of engaging in practices that monopolize the professional Call of Duty scene, allegedly causing significant financial detriment to Rodriguez and his business interests. The claimants are seeking damages exceeding $680 million, spotlighting issues surrounding team ownership in the Call of Duty League (CDL), streaming rights, and the enforced merger between OpTic Gaming and Envy.

    Monopoly Over Call of Duty Competitions

    The lawsuit critiques Activision Blizzard's acquisition of Major League Gaming (MLG) in 2016, asserting that it established a monopoly over professional Call of Duty competitions. It contends that teams had no alternative but to participate in the CDL under conditions set by Activision, due to the company's refusal to license Call of Duty competitions to other organizers.

    Streaming Rights Controversy

    Another focal point of the legal challenge is the exclusive streaming rights agreement between Activision Blizzard and Google's YouTube. The plaintiffs argue that this decision, which came after Activision Blizzard solidified its control over the professional Call of Duty market, was not in the best financial interest of the players or the teams, suggesting that a more open approach or a partnership with Twitch would have been more beneficial.

    Forced Merger and Ownership Disputes

    Perhaps most notably, the lawsuit alleges that Activision Blizzard compelled Rodriguez to merge OpTic Gaming with Envy. This merger, according to the lawsuit, was not Rodriguez's preference; he wished to be the sole owner of an OpTic CDL team but was reportedly pressured into partnering with investors approved by Activision. The suit claims Rodriguez was coerced into giving a substantial ownership share to Envy Gaming, Inc., diminishing his control over OpTic.

    Activision's Response

    In response to the lawsuit, Activision has dismissed the allegations as baseless, both factually and legally. The company expressed disappointment in Rodriguez and Abner for initiating what it views as disruptive litigation to the esports community, including team owners, players, fans, and partners invested in the CDL's success. Activision has vowed to vigorously defend against these claims.

    The outcome of this lawsuit remains uncertain, as does its impact on the future of the Call of Duty League and its relationship with team owners and players.

    Image Credit: Call of Duty League

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