U.S. District Court Dismisses GTA Online Class Action Lawsuit

A U.S. District Court in California has dismissed a class action lawsuit that tried to take Take-Two Interactive and its subsidiary Rockstar Games to task for the delayed launch of the multiplayer component for Grand Theft Auto V – Grand Theft Auto Online.

The lawsuit (McMahon v. Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. et al., C.D. Cal. Case No. 5:13-cv-02032-VAP-SP) was filed on October 4 by Bruce McMahon and Christopher Bengtson, but later moved to the federal court in mid-November.

The plaintiffs claimed in their complaint that GTA V launched on September 17, 2013 at a "premium" price, dependent on the fact that it contained an online multiplayer component that was to be "available immediately." This, they claimed was a violation by Take-Two subsidiary Rockstar Games of California law that – in general terms – prohibited "unlawful," "unfair," or "fraudulent" business practices including false advertising and other statutes related to consumer protection.

The lawsuit was in relation to the delay of the online multiplayer component for the game, which didn't launch until Oct. 1. The online portion of the game – made available to anyone who purchased GTA V – had its fair share of technical problems at launch to be sure, but it ultimately went online two weeks after the game was released on Xbox 360 and PS3.

On Wednesday U.S. District Court Judge Virginia A. Phillips disagreed with the plaintiff's arguments and granted Take-Two's motion to dismiss the case. In her decision Judge Phillips referred to the packaging for the game, which did not contain language about multiplayer being available "immediately."

The court also took into account disclaimers on the packaging, which warned consumers that online play and other special features in the game "may not be available to all users." The court found these disclaimers to be sufficient enough to alert potential customers purchasing the game that online game play might not be immediately available.

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