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Ongoing  Fallout 4  DLC lawsuit could impact Microsoft's takeover of Bethesda

Ongoing Fallout 4 DLC lawsuit could impact Microsoft's takeover of Bethesda

February 25, 2021 | By Chris Kerr

February 25, 2021 | By Chris Kerr
More: Business/Marketing

Bethesda has been dealing with a lawsuit over its handling of Fallout 4's downloadable content that could impact Microsoft's takeover of the company.

The lawsuit was filed in July 2019, and alleges that Bethesda misled consumers by promising the $30 season pass for Fallout 4 would include every single piece of DLC for the title.

As reported by GamesBeat, the suit quotes Bethesda's pledge that its Season Pass will "get you all of the Fallout 4 DLC we ever do for just $30." The company also claimed the value of its Season Pass content "will be worth at least $40."

The attorneys involved in the lawsuit claim millions of players purchased the Season Pass based on that promise. They also say those players were eventually left short-changed when Bethesda introduced its Creation Club in 2017.

The Creation Club was billed by the studio as "a collection of all-new content for both Fallout 4 and Skyrim," and includes fan-made mods along with content created by Bethesda itself. That content, however, wasn't made available to Season Pass owners -- and that's where it's alleged Bethesda crossed the line. 

Speaking to GamesBeat, Fillippo Marchino, an attorney at the class-action law firm 'The X-Law Group' handling the lawsuit, claimed that Creation Club content actually constitutes a second wave of DLC and should have been offered to Season Pass holders at no extra cost. 

"Simply put, Bethesda sold a Season Pass with the understanding that it was going to give the holders of the Season Pass any and all DLC content there was going to be created for the game Fallout 4 on a go-forward basis," said Marchino.

"They released a limited amount of DLC. Then they released a second wave of DLC, but decided to call it the Creation Club content and artificially removed it from the definition of DLC. Meaning that they promised people at the onset, we will give you everything we made. And then they reneged on that promise, and they did so to their benefit or the detriment of the plaintiffs. So that’s where they did something wrong. They lied. They took money from gamers, and then they made more money."

Bethesda counsel Margaret Esquenet has denied most of the legal claims against the company, pushing back against the notion that Creation Club content is DLC. 

In terms of how the suit could impact Microsoft's impending $7.5 billion takeover of Bethesda, Marchino now wants a judge to halt the sale to prevent Bethesda from moving its assets to a new legal entity -- effectively shielding it from any legal liability related to the lawsuit. 

"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," said Marchino. "It’s known as a motion for preliminary injunction."

At the time of writing, a trial could reportedly be scheduled for 2022 unless both parties can agree a settlement that would allow the plaintiffs involved to recover their "economic losses and damages suffered" -- such as the $281 worth of Creation Club content it's claimed should have been included in the Season Pass.

Be sure to check out the full story on GamesBeat for more information and legal insights.

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