DRM turning unwary retailers into fraudsters?

Want to whine about DRM (*cough* StarBound)? Here you go!
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rustypup
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DRM turning unwary retailers into fraudsters?

Post by rustypup »

Essentially, has Flagship's fantastic failure turned marginally honest retailers into fraudsters?

This one's been tickling me for a while now, and the legality around it is not something I've been particularly concerned with, but it's still interesting.

For those not up to speed with the drama:
Spoiler (show)
Towards the end of 2007 Flagship Studios released its first foray into the MMORPG/FPS feed-bucket.

Lauded as the must have title of the year, (and carrying all the credit due to its ex-Blizzard employees), by many a pundit and given, (for reasons i still cannot fathom), some of the highest ratings ever recorded in the history of over publicised tripe, Hellgate London was going to appeal to everyone, (kiddies, malcontents, rabid poodles and even half chewed gum stuck to the bottom of public seating).

Bragging a courageous blend of RPG and FPS, along with the somewhat suspect claim of 'randomly generated' maps, the publisher managed to rope in a solid number of juicy sucke... subscribers who were falling over each other to hand over extra cash in order to play with all the content, (as opposed to the modified sticks the 'free' users had access to). Some even went so far as to blow a princely sum for lifetime membership - (naturally, a large number of these individuals were subsequently institutionalised).

Needless to say, the game was average to ok... the content was fairly interesting but it soon dawned on even the dimmest of sane pieces of gum that the gameplay was... dull. The random-map-generator was stuck on "randomly shuffle the same building around the place with some randomly placed chests that spat out random stuff". The maps themselves were, for the most part, grim reminders of what must be like to be a rat in a really simple maze. The avatars available suffered an embarrassingly large number of play-balance-obliterating bugs and the patches required to get in during updates were some of the most ambitious I've seen to date.

Naturally, the business soon tanked leaving all those subscribers a little red in the face... mostly due to high blood pressure.
What has been puzzling me no end is that the product is still on sale, (despite the fact that the servers were due to say their final farewell at the end of Jan, 2009 - possibly not if NAMCO keep them up a wee bit longer, but they will be gone fairly soon).

There are 2 issues here.

Firstly, like most modern DRM victims, the product cannot be played until it has been activated. As activation is handled entirely online, at some point, (in the very near future), retailers will be selling 300+ rands worth of nothing.

Secondly, they have been plugging, (since July/August of last year), half the product at full price as , (even if you were dilly enough to want to pay for the balance of the content), subscriptions were put on hold indefinitely.

While class action is probably out of the question, is there a risk here? If so, what does this say about this type of DRM? Surely the product should have been pulled when subscriptions were frozen, (or, at best, reduced to clear with notification).

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Re: DRM turning unwary retailers into fraudsters?

Post by Anakha56 »

I still rue the day I bought HGL :(. Played it once and will never again touch it...
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Re: DRM turning unwary retailers into fraudsters?

Post by Interfan »

I though hgl didn't have that kind of drm?? I though it was only this year that EA start implementing this.

But yeah it was a complete waste of money.
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Re: DRM turning unwary retailers into fraudsters?

Post by lancelot »

Rusty, I tend to agree, this must border on fraud, how is it possible that any distributor can sell this, not because of the game but the consequences of the server going down soon? An unsuspecting person will easily be taken in by this and lose all their well earned money. It is unscrupulous and downright unethical. :evil:

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Re: DRM turning unwary retailers into fraudsters?

Post by mina.magpie »

Sounds like misrepresentation of the product to me.

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Re: DRM turning unwary retailers into fraudsters?

Post by rustypup »

well, the online retailers, (ala Take 2@R317), are probably covered by a blanket disclaimer on every page.. i don't imagine that CNA/IC/etc have their staff running around blabbing some form of official disclaimer before every pitch :lol:
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Re: DRM turning unwary retailers into fraudsters?

Post by mina.magpie »

So who do we sue? In these difficult times, I need some cold, hard cash. :twisted:

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Re: DRM turning unwary retailers into fraudsters?

Post by rustypup »

well, in order to sue, you'd pretty much have to have purchased the game either this month or within Feb, (prior to their pulling it).

And even then, your legal costs would exceed your recovery, (you can't exactly chase the more lucrative mental anguish/suffering bit over a game).

imagine if a class action were pursued?...

how would retailers respond?

i imagine their first step would be to bounce any product even vaguely associated with this type of DRM...
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Re: DRM turning unwary retailers into fraudsters?

Post by StarBound »

You keep mentioning flagship as the cause and only title I know them for is Hellgate. The game doesnt need online activation although the multi player of the game is dying soon. If however it did use drm my whole rant from last year holds firm.

SA law you can only sue for the amount of damage. In this case R317 and I believe they would have to take back your product.
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Re: DRM turning unwary retailers into fraudsters?

Post by mina.magpie »

rustypup wrote:well, in order to sue, you'd pretty much have to have purchased the game either this month or within Feb, (prior to their pulling it).
Cool. So what game am I buying then? :mrgreen:
And even then, your legal costs would exceed your recovery, (you can't exactly chase the more lucrative mental anguish/suffering bit over a game).
Well of course I can. In a world where people starve to death cause they can't bear to move away from the World of Warcraft screen, gaming is a very serious thing.
imagine if a class action were pursued?...
I'm imagining it right now. :twisted:

LOL. I have the most amazing capacity to flog a dead horse.

I would love for somebody to be sued around the DRM issue. DRM is IMO a gross violation of customer rights, but it needs to be tested in court somewhere.

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Last edited by mina.magpie on 21 Jan 2009, 17:36, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: DRM turning unwary retailers into fraudsters?

Post by rustypup »

StarBound wrote:The game doesnt need online activation
i beg to differ - the standalone is half a product... all the content is online...

and i seem to recall having to log in the first time round during installation... :? it was a while back, though, so i'm probably mistaken...
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