GAMING BLEND

Blizzard Faces Legal Indictments From France, Germany Over Diablo 3

By William Usher 2012-06-15 14:08:55 discussion comments
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While poor gamers in the US of A have been left to the wolves regarding the pervasive always-on DRM in Diablo III, other consumers around the world are getting help from consumer advocacy groups including some extremely stiff stipulations being placed on Blizzard from both Germany and France.

Yes, that's right, both Germany and France, well known enemies of each other, are coming together to fight a greater evil...Diablo. You know it's bad when countries who were arch-enemies can put aside petty genocidal rivalries to drop a ban-hammer on a greedy video game publisher.

Anyways, as if the investigation from the Korean Fair Trade Commission wasn't enough, as well as having all grey market item sales banned, Blizzard now has 15 days, as of the publishing of this article, to fix all the connection issues for French gamers who are having problems connecting to Diablo III or else they will be taken to court by the French consumer standards organization, UFC Que Choisir, as reported by the official Que Choisir website. Diablo's IncGamers has a rough Google translation of the post, saying...
In France, the very serious “UFC Que Choisir” organization (focused on protecting consumers of all kinds of products) has received over 1500 complaints in 4 days from gamers about connect-ability issues and has asked Blizzard to have a permanent solution within 15 days and to communicate completely and transparently about problems encountered in due time.

They are also requesting that affected gamers be given damages for troubles they may have had, and, in a much broader but more official manner, are asking the DGCCRF to have a close look at online-only DRMed games and how they work, including economically. They basically feel that it’s wrong to assume that an entire nation (well, at least France) has equal internet quality and reception across its entire territory and hence, online-only seems are harmful for some (many?) consumers (which is who they’re trying to protect).

Thank you, thank you, thank you!



I really wish our own gaming media had taken these issues more seriously to bring these concerns to the awareness of appropriate authorities, but too many writers were enamored by the glow of Diablo III's gameplay, even while their accounts were hacked. Thankfully a few sites have been keeping up on this issue and I'm definitely glad that some form of authority has stepped in to regulate Blizzard on both the intrusive always-on and for their lack of dealing with the server load. Seriously, if you're going to force everyone to play your game online, you better have pitch-perfect servers to handle the load, period.

I also seriously doubt Blizzard will be able to fix the server issue for French gamers in 15 days. They haven't even fully fixed server load for North American and South Korean gamers and it's been a month since the game's release.

If that's not bad enough, N-TV is also reporting that Germany has stepped into the fray as well, and the Federation of German Consumer Organizations has said that Blizzard is being held accountable for antitrust violations.

Their issue is a little bit different because the box for Diablo III in Germany doesn't properly indicate the always-on requirement for single-player games. Haha, now that is false advertisement right there.

As stated by IncGamers...
The problem with the game being permanently tied to the consumer’s battle.net account seems to be that it prevents resale. The VZBV require that both of these things be made clear on the box.

Blizzard has until July 15th to respond and get things in order, otherwise they'll be receiving a ban-hammer of greater magnitude than a room full of exploiting gold botters.

But hey, guess what? Guess what? You know how Blizzard could have completely avoided all of this and no one would be complaining about false advertising or not being able to play single-player? If Diablo III had an offline mode.

Stay classy, Blizzard.
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