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OpTic Gaming’s H3CZ and Scump file lawsuit against Activision

OpTic Gaming members seek $680 million in damages.

Two prominent members of OpTic Gaming have filed a lawsuit against Activision. Per Bloomberg Law, the lawsuit alleges Activision and the Call of Duty League created a monopoly on competitive CoD.

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Activision both owns Call of Duty and runs the Call of Duty League, a professional league where OpTic Gaming competes. The pending lawsuit was filed by H3CZ, the founder and longtime CEO of OpTic Gaming, as well as Scump, a now-retired professional CoD player and current member of OpTic’s content creation team.

Why are H3CZ and Scump suing Activision?

Hector “H3CZ” Rodriguez and Seth “Scump” Abner filed a lawsuit against Activision, alleging the company created a tournament monopoly in Call of Duty. Previously, tournaments were run by Major League Gaming, Gamestop, Checkmate Gaming, and other companies to allow players to compete at nearly any level. Since the inception of the CDL, the OpTic members are alleging Activision has created the only place high-level competitive Call of Duty players can compete.

According to the lawsuit:

“Activision’s acquisition of Major League Gaming in late 2016 already had resulted in an extreme concentration of the professional Call of Duty market. Activision then cemented a complete monopoly over the professional Call of Duty market by refusing to grant licenses to organizers and operators of other commercial Call of Duty competitions.”

But Rodriguez accuses Activision of more than just a monopoly. The founder and longtime CEO also says Activision forced him to sell the majority of his company. In addition to a $27.5 million entry fee to get into the CDL, the suit says Activision demanded an “unconditional 50% share of the revenue the team generated from ticket sales, sponsorships, and other revenue streams.” Those who did not give in to these demands were allegedly cut out of the professional CoD market.

After reacquiring OpTic Gaming in 2020, Rodriguez sought to enter the Activision CoD League as the sole owner of a team. The lawsuit alleges that Activision refused to approve him as the sole owner, which forced H3CZ to partner with billionaire investors in 2021 to get back into the competitive Call of Duty scene. Conditionally, the partnerships granted those billionaires a 92.5% ownership share in OpTic IP LLC. Rodriguez says the asset “has had a private market evaluation of at least $100 million.”

“Activision told Rodriguez that his team could participate in the new Activision league only if he ‘partnered’ with billionaire investors that satisfied Activision’s preferences. The terms of that forced partnership were, of course, financially devastating to Rodriguez, as Activision reasonably foresaw,” the lawsuit says.

Scump also claims even after retirement from the CDL, Activision uses its “monopoly power to prevent these former players from accepting vast categories of revenue opportunities related to professional Call of Duty.”

Activision’s response to the OpTic Gaming lawsuit

The company quickly responded to the pending lawsuit with the full statement below via Bloomberg Law:

“Mr. Rodriguez (aka OpTic H3CZ) and Mr. Abner (aka Scump) demanded that Activision Blizzard pay them tens of millions of dollars to avoid this meritless litigation, and when their demands were not met, they filed. We will strongly defend against these claims, which have no basis in fact or in law. We are disappointed that these members of the esports community would bring this suit which is disruptive to team owners, players, fans, and partners who have invested so much time and energy into the Call of Duty League’s success.”

OpTic members are seeking more than $680 million in damages

Collectively, H3CZ and Scump seek more than $680 million in damages from Activision.

This is not the first time this particular (former) pro player has been outspoken against Activision and the league itself. In 2020, Abner tweeted the following, claiming all CDL players were forced to sign a contract on the spot if they wanted to play.


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Author
Tim Harding
Tim has been playing games for over 25 years and tries to play as many as possible to completion. From FPS games, survival horror, RPGs, and platformers to soulslikes, he likes to dabble in everything. He's also played every Call of Duty title since Call of Duty 2 came out in 2005. His favorite games of all time include Banjo-Kazooie, Gun Star Heroes, Bioshock, God of War Ragnarok, and far too many more to choose.