Bethesda has been hit by a class-action lawsuit regarding Fallout 4 DLC. Specifically, the lawsuit alleges that the Creation Club feature constituted paid DLC and thus violated the terms of the Fallout 4 Season Pass.
What is the Bethesda class action lawsuit about?
According to VentureBeat, Bethesda originally claimed that the Fallout 4 Season Pass would contain "all of the Fallout 4 DLC we ever do" for a single price. In 2017, however, the Creation Club was announced, a feature that constituted new content created by Bethesda and "outside development partners". The lawyers filing the class-action lawsuit alleges that this content constitutes DLC, as it's extra content for Fallout 4 that is created at least in part by Bethesda. Of course, buying the Season Pass doesn't entitle you to access this content; you need to purchase it separately.
The lawsuit is being filed by lawyers Thomas Gray and Filippo Marchino of The X-Law Group. According to Gray and Marchino, the Creation Club content was sold as mods but was in fact extra DLC for Fallout 4. As such, gamer Jacob Devine, on whose behalf the lawsuit is being filed, believes he was ripped off. The lawyers are asking for punitive damages, the recovery of cash paid for Creation Club DLC, and other miscellaneous relief.
What does this mean for Bethesda?
For its part, Bethesda has said that the plaintiffs were "not damaged at all" by the Fallout 4 Creation Club content not being classed as DLC. Remarkably, Marchino, one of the lawyers bringing the case, could actually seek to block the upcoming sale of Bethesda to Microsoft. Marchino believes that Bethesda could dodge the suit by transferring all of its assets to Microsoft and leaving behind a shell if the sale goes through prior to a ruling. There's precedent for this, according to Marchino. When Bethesda purchased developer Human Head, the company transferred Human Head's assets to Bethesda and rehired all of its employees under the ZeniMax banner. Marchino doesn't want that to happen again before he's able to achieve a favorable outcome for his client.
This isn't likely to be good news for Bethesda, who will want their transaction with Microsoft to go off without a hitch. According to gaming-focused lawyer David Hoppe, Bethesda and The X-Law Group are likely to reach a settlement rather than allow the case to go to court. Hoppe says the "easiest thing to do" would be to simply open up Creation Club content to anybody who bought the Fallout 4 Season Pass. He says he can't imagine a judge or jury awarding "billions of dollars" over DLC, and that both companies likely don't want this case to find its way to a courtroom. We'll have to wait and see what happens. As ever, we'll bring you more on this as it develops.
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