Two California men say they purchased Rockstar Games’ Grand Theft Auto V when the video game launched on September 17, 2013, but were unaware that they would be unable to compete with other game owners online due to the alleged negligent acts of Take-Two Interactive Software Inc., according to a false advertising class action lawsuit filed in California state court on October 4.
The Grand Theft Auto class action lawsuit says that prior to the video game launch, GTA V “was advertised as a state-of-the-art game that would provide without reservation ‘online multiplayer [for two-16 players]’ and [cooperative play for two-16 players.” However, those features were unavailable at the time of the September 17 release, according to the class action lawsuit filed by plaintiffs Bruce McMahon and Christopher Bengtson.
At the time of the filing, Rockstar Games estimated that it would take several weeks for the online multiplayer features to be available for GTA V. The class action lawsuit says the company should have known prior to the launch that these features would not be available and should have adequately advised consumers, like the plaintiffs, who paid $60 for GTA V. Packaging was not accurate, according to the Grand Theft Auto class action lawsuit, because it promised online play that was not available to any of the hundreds of thousands of buyers.
The plaintiffs are seeking certification on behalf of all buyers of the video game in California.
Take-Two Interactive Software announced in a press release on September 18 that first-day sales of GTA V were $800 million. The company also added: “Grand Theft Auto V also includes access to Grand Theft Auto Online, the revolutionary new open world online game launching October 1, 2013, that comes free with every copy of Grand Theft Auto V.”
That claim and the existing advertising may help the plaintiffs in their certification efforts, although the company has reportedly offered non-cash compensation to game owners that can be used to purchase items in Grand Theft Auto 5 itself.
The plaintiffs are represented by class action lawsuit attorneys Rex P. Sofonio of Sofonio & Associates APLC and James R. Hawkins.
The Grand Theft Auto Class Action Lawsuit is Bruce McMahon, et al. v. Take-Two Interactive Software Inc., et al., Case No. 1311350, in the Superior Court of California, County of Riverside.
UPDATE: A federal judge dismissed the Grand Theft Auto V class action lawsuit on Jan. 29. 2014, ruling that the packaging for the video game never promised that online multiplayer features would be available at launch.
UPDATE 2: On Feb. 19, 2016, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed the dismissal of a class action lawsuit against Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. and Rockstar Games Inc. over false advertising allegations related to their Grand Theft Auto V video game.
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