Unsatisfied gamer sues Activision Blizzard

Video Game Law Blog

December 02, 2009

Erik Estavillo, the same man who has previously sued Sony Computer Entertainment America (SCEA), Microsoft and Nintendo, has allegedly filed another lawsuit in the Civil Division of the Superior Court of California. This latest suit was filed against Activision Blizzard over the game World of Warcraft.

According to Gamerant.com, Mr. Estavillo sued SCEA after he was banned from the Playstation Network for « inappropriate behaviour ». His lawsuit against Microsoft was for the failure of his Xbox 360 system, which he claims had to be replaced after it displayed the "red ring of death" and he allegedly sued Nintendo for having disabled unauthorized third party programs on the Wii.

It appears that he is now suing Activision Blizzard because he claims that the calculated slow pace at which the player walks or runs in the game leads to longer play time, which then leads to higher subscription revenue for Activision Blizzard, a practice that Mr. Estavillo has allegedly called "sneaky and deceitful practices".

Gamepolitics also reports that Mr. Estavillo, who claims to suffer from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Agoraphobia, Panic Disorder, major depression and Crohn's disease, alleges that he relies heavily on video games for the "little ongoing happiness he can achieve in this life" and does not want to end up like other gamers in similar situations who take their own lives.

Escapistmagazine.com reports that Mr. Estavillo is asking the court to order that the game be "fixed", as well as an award of one million dollars in punitive damages "for creating a game which hurts gamers rather than being a bridge of entertainment for them to pursue happiness."

Mr. Estavillo has allegedly also subpoenaed Martin Lee Gore of the band Depeche Mode and Winona Ryder to testify on his behalf regarding the subject of alienation. According to GamePolitics, Mr. Estavillo is claiming that Gore will be testifying with regards to alienation because his song lyrics show that he himself has been alienated and Ryder is to explain the significance of alienation in the book The Catcher in the Rye, for which she has apparently shown an interest, and Mr. Estavillo allegedly expects her testimony to explain how alienation in The Catcher in the Rye can tie to alienation in video games like World of Warcraft as well as in real life.

Coverage at GamePolitics.com, Escapistmagazine.com, and GameRant.com