GAMING BLEND

Blizzard Still Facing Scrutiny From Korea's FTC Over Diablo 3 Refunds

By William Usher 2012-05-30 11:17:27 discussion comments
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So there's a law in South Korea that says if a product doesn't work within seven days and the problem is not caused by the consumer, the consumer is entitled to a full refund. Pro-consumer, eh? Well, Diablo III consistently hasn't been working for some Korean players for more than seven days, however, Blizzard was initially denying refunds for a game already in-use.

The Korean FTC has been investigating Blizzard since last week, however the Wall Street Journal (because the issue seems to keep growing until it gains mainstream attention) is reporting that the FTC is still furthering the investigation due to the number of complaints, which averages around 150 people per day.

The Verge has gone a step further in detailing why the FTC is stepping in. As mentioned at the top of the article, Blizzard has a strict policy in place in which they do not give refunds to products already in-use. But how the heck were Korean gamers supposed to know that the game would be laggy because of Blizzard's servers? False advertisement much? Anyway, Korean gamers have been complaining that the latency (not the log-in) issues make the game unplayable, spiking high enough where you can't actually play anything at all.

Korean gamers have been seeking refunds and only a few have been successful. I imagine that after paying $60 for a product you shouldn't have to wait two weeks to be able to enjoy it, especially when you can't enjoy it at your convenience.

A forum poster made a very accurate remark, noting, "If Blizzard expect you to be always online to play their game. Then Blizzard need to always be online whenever you want to play it."

In this particular case being online is only part of the issue, the server distance is too great for most Korean players and in result, the experience has been less than exemplary. Blizzard supposedly plans to open up additional server farms closer to the Asian territories where the game is being sold, which will supposedly absolve the problem.

Realistically, though, the problem will never go away. Server issues never stop and it's something MMO gamers have to deal with on a constant basis. What's more is that everything Blizzard has been working on seems to compliment or aim to balance the game out for the impending launch of the Real-Money Auction House.

As noted in this very good read on the Battle.net forums, the RMAH is basically Activision-Blizzard's answer to what investors were worried about all along. It will generate long-term revenue for the company without them having to do a darn thing. Essentially, it's eBay for items that aren't real and Blizzard gets a 15% cut of every transfer from virtual currency to real-world money.

The RMAH wouldn't have been a bad concept if the game was 10 years of revolutionary development...if Diablo III launched with political or economic features like TERA Online or had cinematic combat like Blade & Soul, I think things could be somewhat justified. But essentially stripping away an offline single-player to force people to deal with the online-only RMAH, forcing people to risk their account security to hackers and forcing an always-on connection for no other reason than to pad the advertisement of the RMAH and then offering nothing substantial consumer-side to justify such thing is downright anti-consumer. I'm glad Korea's Fair Trade is stepping up and stepping in and hopefully something positive comes out of it for gamers.
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