Microsoft’s acquisition of The Elder Scrolls publisher Bethesda may have hit a snag, as a class-action lawsuit is now potentially threatening to delay the process.
X-Law Group filed a lawsuit against Bethesda in July 2019 regarding how it sold the Fallout 4 Season Pass, and, while in the discovery phase, could seek damages of around one billion dollars.
Lawyers have already filed papers to obtain more information, and may even block the sale of Bethesda in case the deal means it is able to shift assets to a new legal entity, thus shielding itself from liability.
What’s more, it could b 2022 before the case is resolved in court if it goes to trial.
Speaking with GamesBeat, layers involved in the case said:
What we’re going to try and do is go in and ask a judge to stop the sale between Microsoft and Bethesda to preserve the assets. And it’s known as a motion for preliminary injunction.
As mentioned, the focus of the lawsuit is on the Fallout 4 Season Pass, and notes that Bethesda advertised it as giving players who purchase it “all of the Fallout 4 DLC we ever do” for just $30.
Based on what we did for Oblivion, Fallout 3, and Skyrim, we know that it will be worth at least $40, and if we do more, you’ll get it all with the Season Pass.
Fast-forward to June 2017, and Bethesda unveiled the Creation Club, describe as “a collection of all-new content for both Fallout 4 and [The Elder Scrolls V:] Skyrim” developed by Bethesda Game Studios and various partners. However, even if you were a Season Pass holder, you’d have to purchase the Creation Club separately.
As such, The X-Law Group attorneys Filippo Marchino and Thomas Gray, have argued that this content is DLC and therefore should be eligible for Season Pass holders.
It clearly is downloadable content. It walks like a duck, quacks like a duck. So it is DLC. They try to slap a sticker on it and call it Creation Club content to remove it from the purview of the people that had already bought the Season Pass. But that’s artificial in nature. And it’s part of the fraud.
Bethesda is therefore accused of making “amateur legal mistakes” such as failing to include an End User License Agreement with Fallout 4, which could have provided details on what players were entitled to. The studio has been charge with breach of contract, unjust enrichment, deceit or fraud, fraudulent concealment, negligent misrepresentation, tort arising out of breach of contract, and more.
Microsoft announced last year that it had acquired Bethesda parent company ZeniMax Media, which essentially means that the likes of Starfield, The Elder Scrolls VI and any games beyond will be exclusive to Xbox and PC.