Thursday, May 9

Microsoft and Activision Blizzard Face New Challenges Amidst Patent Infringement Ruling


In a significant legal setback for Activision Blizzard, a federal jury in Delaware has imposed a $23.4 million penalty against the gaming behemoth for patent infringement issues linked to some of its most popular games. This ruling adds to a series of challenges currently facing Microsoft's gaming division, including recent cuts and the shutdown of multiple studios.

Details of the Patent Infringement Case

The lawsuit, initiated by technology incubator Acceleration Bay in 2015, accused Activision Blizzard of infringing patents critical to the multiplayer functionality in games like "World of Warcraft" and two installments of the "Call of Duty" series— "Black Ops III" and "Advanced Warfare." These patents specifically involve technology that facilitates the simultaneous sharing of information across multiple computers, a staple feature in modern multiplayer gaming.

Despite Activision Blizzard’s defense that its games operate on different technologies and do not infringe on the patents, the jury awarded Acceleration Bay $18 million for the infringements related to "World of Warcraft" and an additional $5.4 million for those related to the "Call of Duty" titles.

Activision Blizzard's Response and Future Steps

Following the verdict, an Activision spokesperson expressed disappointment but indicated a strong intention to appeal the decision. The spokesperson emphasized, "We have never used the patented technologies at issue in our games," suggesting that Activision Blizzard might pursue further legal action to overturn the ruling.

Broader Impact on Microsoft's Gaming Sector

This legal turmoil comes at a turbulent time for Microsoft’s gaming sector, which has recently witnessed the shutdown of four gaming studios and additional budget cuts across its operations. The financial and reputational impacts of this patent lawsuit add another layer of challenge as the company strives to navigate through economic pressures and competitive dynamics in the gaming industry.


The outcome of this lawsuit not only affects Activision Blizzard’s financials but could also influence future operations and technological implementations in its games. It also highlights the ongoing challenges within the larger gaming industry, particularly regarding intellectual property and technology use.

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