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Players will get next to nothing from $60 million video game settlement


Lawyers for the parties have submitted new terms of a proposed settlement to US District Judge Claudia Wilken in hopes of resolving the video game settlement. 

Here’s the short version…

The settlement is capped at $60 million. 

The attorneys involved are seeking fees of $19 million and expenses of $3 million. Assuming those are approved by the judge (and they typically are), the amount available to current and former players is $38 million. 

So, let’s look at that $38 million. 

Per the settlement, there are approximately 60,000 current and former players who appeared “as an avatar” in the video games. Those 60,000 each are able to submit claims. 

Additionally, there are “tens of thousands” of additional players who were on rosters but were not avatars in the games. These “tens of thousands” of additional players would be “eligible for smaller amounts” if they file. 

According to the documents filed in support of the settlement, if every eligible former and current player submitted a claim, it is “likely that a player with numerous appearance years would end up with no more than about $1,600.” 


However, no one really expects everyone to file a claim. One of the attorneys involved in the filing stated that he expects between 5% and 20% of eligible players to file a claim.

So, we did some math. Let’s assume than only 10% of eligible players who had an avatar in a game file a claim (which we happen to think is way, way to low)…and let’s assume that 0% of the other “tens of thousands” of additional players who were on rosters but were not avatars in the games file…. that would mean about 6,000 players would split $38 million….which would yield an average payout of just over $6,000 per player.

Let’s state that again. If we make extremely low estimations of how many players will file claims (10% of those with avatars in game and 0% of all others) then the average payout would be just over $6,000 per player. 

Now, allow me to state what is more likely to happen. Attorneys, who have already received $22 million of the $60 million total settlement, will begin reaching out to all of the former and current players. They will sign athletes up as clients and they will then fill out the claim forms for them…for let’s just estimate 20% of whatever the athlete gets.

By going this route, well more than 10% of current and former athletes will file claims; but in doing so, each will receive less and less (not to mention the additional 20% haircut that the lawyers will get).

Let’s get hypothetical and project that perhaps as many as 20% of the “players who had avatars” in the video games file claims. Yeah, that would then reduce the average payout per player down to about $3,000 per player…and then the attorney takes his $600 and the IRS gets their $300….yep, players are looking at $2,000 or so.

I'm sure the attorneys are happy; but I hope the plaintiffs / players involved realize just how small these payouts will be. I wonder how different reality is from what their attorneys and advisors told them they were likely to get when they started down this path.

Final note - USA Today has done an excellent job following this trial and proposed settlement. Much of the facts that we have used were gleaned from their coverage including this piece from this morning.