Central District Tosses Grand Theft Auto V “False Advertising” Lawsuit.

Grand-Theft-Auto-V1A federal court in California has dismissed a lawsuit against Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. and Rockstar Games, Inc., finding that they did not falsely advertise the immediate availability of special features in the video game “Grand Theft Auto V.”

The Plaintiffs alleged that they purchased GTA V on its September 17, 2013 release date at a “premium” price, relying on representations that online multiplayer game play was available immediately.  (The multiplayer feature of the game in fact launched two weeks later, on October 1, 2013.)  These advertisements (Plaintiffs alleged) were in violation of California laws generally prohibiting “unlawful,” “unfair,” or “fraudulent” business practices (including false advertising) and other consumer statutes.

The Court disagreed.  Referring to the packaging of the game itself, the Court noted that Defendants did not advertise any special feature of GTA V as available “immediately.”  The Court also noted certain disclaimers on the packaging, which cautioned that online play and other special features of the game “may not be available to all users.”  In the Court’s view, these disclaimers were sufficient as a matter of law to alert consumers that online game play might not be immediately available.  Upon these findings, the Court found no actionable false advertising claim against the Defendants.

The lawsuit is McMahon v. Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. et al., C.D. Cal. Case No. 5:13-cv-02032-VAP-SP.  The Court’s Order of Dismissal issued January 29, 2014.