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Multi-billion dollar gaming company Blizzard has been under fire since the launch of Diablo III in May. In several countries gamers have been unable to play the game regularly, resulting in the FTC getting involved. For Korea the battle has been ongoing since the game's release but recently the Korean Government has finally fined Blizzard $7,000 USD or 8 million Korean Won for their anti-consumerist policies.
Originally, South Korea's FTC raided the offices of Blizzard over consumer complaints that they were unable to get refunds on digital purchases of Diablo III due to the game not working as intended. Even Korean internet cafe owners complained to the FTC and eventually motioned to enact a lawsuit against Blizzard due to lacking functionality. According to the statistics from both Xfire and Gametrics, there was a huge drop-off in the player-base in Korea (among other regions) for Diablo III and much of it was due to the lack of the game's service stability at internet cafes.
Well, after being forced to give refunds to Korean gamers back in late June, MMO Culture is reporting that the Korean Government has fined Blizzard 8 million Won, which translates to $7,000 U.S. dollars, for their continued refusal to hand out the appropriate amount of refunds to Korean consumers.
According to MMO Culture, on Diablo III's launch week the Korean Fair Trade Commission received 524 complaints, which was 60% more complaints than any other product during that time. The French FTC, known as the UFC-Que Choisir, also received a large amount of complaints, 1500 over the course of four days, and came down hard on Blizzard for anti-consumerist policies as well. Unlike the Korean government, France is still trying to iron out a way to help consumers get what they paid for.
While a $7,000 fine is chump change for a company the size of Blizzard, the exposure of the fine and the bad press certainly doesn't help bring in new consumers or make Diablo III look all that inviting given the troubles the always-on DRM feature is causing.