Diablo III Complaints Cause Blizzard Seoul Raid

    May 29, 2012
    Sean Patterson
    Comments are off for this post.

It’s hard launching a blockbuster video game these days. Even if you work for a decade and spend hundreds of millions of dollars in development, entitled fans will find something to complain about within minutes of a game’s release. EA is learning this new lesson in gamer entitlement with Mass Effect 3, which gamers didn’t feel ended correctly. So, Bioware, the developer of Mass Effect 3, announced it would release downloadable content (DLC) to “clarify” the ending.

Now, Activision is learning the same lesson. According to The Korea Times, the Korean Fair Trade Commission (FTC) is investigating Blizzard Entertainment over allegations that the company did not provide refunds to customers dissatisfied with their purchase of Diablo III. The issue stems from the problems Blizzard had meeting demand for the game on launch-day. From the report:

Some buyers of the game vented frustration over server shutdowns and asked for refunds, but the company refused to do so, citing sales contract terms, which the FTC says is disadvantageous to consumers.

The Korean FTC evidently received hundreds of complaints from Diablo III players who were unable to play their games due to the always-on internet connection requirement of the game. The Korean FTC is not investigating the fact that consumers could not access their purchased game, but the claim that some of those upset players were unable to secure a refund for their unplayable game. The investigation led to a raid at Blizzard’s offices in Seoul, where investigators confiscated documents related to the case. The FTC will now determine whether Blizzard actually broke the law.

Though both EA and Activision are taking heat from fans and seeing governmental pressure over their games, it’s odd that none of the pressure on the game companies is for the things the companies are deliberately doing that inconvenience customers. The complaints about Mass Effect 3 were regarding the game’s story design, which gamers thought was too linear. What gamers should have been complaining about was buying a copy of the game and then having to buy “DLC” for content that was already on the disc they had purchased. In Korea, the investigation into Blizzard is regarding their willingness to provide refunds. What should be investigated is the reason so many want refunds – the always-on internet requirement for Diablo III.

(The Korea Times via gameranx)

  • http://www.myrisedesign.net Taylor Clark

    What I dont understand is why more people arent upset. I remember a day when games came out on discs and floppys. Had that game decided not to work when i got home on launch day id have been pissed. Had d3 launched on xbox and xbox live failed on launch day, twenty says blizzard would attempt a lawsuit. I dont understand how the pc gaming market has become so accepting of flawed or incomplete games. Would you pay full price for a car that woulnt drive until three days after you bought it?

  • http://neilyamit.com/ neil

    Gamers have become really spoiled these days. During the arcade gaming days, if you see a bug or inconsistencies…you live with it, find workarounds and all. Now, all gamers will do is whine and whine and whine even more.

    I’m playing Diablo 3, btw…It’s a great game.

    • Larry

      Spoiled? The always on requirement is absolute crap. People have every right to be pissed and demand a refund. Blizzard needs to allow single player offline games or have to refund those of us who feel ripped off by their blatant greed. When you purchase something, you own it. You don’t purchase a vehicle and then are left at the mercy of the manufacture to allow you to use it are their terms. It’s absolute shit. No pity on them from me or any of my friends. What does a customer do if they go belly up? It’s happened to better companies. The customer is left with nothing more than memories.

      • http://thegrouchygamer.squarespace.com Genda

        Really? They have a right to a refund? Because they can’t read? It says on the box that internet connection is required. They just wanted to make a stink and they want to play it so they bought it anyway. If they felt that strongly about it they shouldn’t have purchased it in the first place.

        And afaik, Blizzard still supports online play for D2, WC3, and SC 1. Could Blizzard go out of business? Of course. Will it be before most people got their value out of Diablo 3? Not likely.

  • Steve

    LOL @ “hundreds” of complaints = a raid. That’s pathetic.

    Albeit, a refund should be given if a user is truly dissastified with a product.. but it seems like most people are asking for refunds after 100+ hours of gameplay because inferno is “too hard”.

    I’m sorry but playing for 100 hours is getting your money’s worth and more.

    • Thanatos

      Maybe I missed the part of the article which said that the people were asking for refunds after playing the game for 100+ hours

  • E

    Several valid points made:
    The consumers *should* have read the package to see that it requires an internet connection, however, Blizzard *should* have made sure that their servers were running up to par when it was released.
    I don’t know about China, but in the States, it is standard policy, and has been for nearly a decade, for almost ANY software, particularly PC, that once it is opened, it is non-refundable, due to idiot hackers and IP pirates. You want to rail against the policy, kick a hacker in the rear, ’cause they’re the ones that caused that policy to be adopted.
    –> Taylor Clark: I agree, and its the reason (lack of PC game quality) that I have eschewed PC gaming for the most part. It must also be said that consoles are not immune.
    e.g.: Some are familiar with the recent Batman games for console (Arkham Asylum/City)… yeah, when Arkham City released, it was full of features specifically for Catwoman, who was a playable character, a fact that I was looking forward to… until I discovered the dirty trick, that Catwoman was ONLY available as purchasable DLC.
    C’mon, game developers, throw us a freakin’ bone, here. We pay $60 a pop (if bought new) for your games, and you can’t even include ALL of the features available at release. Seriously?!?!
    As for Mass Effect 3: OMG, suck it up people. Some of the most epic stories have ended with the hero dying in the end.
    Does anyone remember beating the last boss in the first Diablo?!?! It ends with your character slamming the evil crystal into his forehead, thus becoming the NEXT Diablo… and nobody said a word. (the fact that I still remember after 15 years should say how memorable it was, especially since I suffer from CRS)
    Quitcher whinin’!
    I really pity EA for that fiasco. Are these same folks gonna start bitching at the movie creators when they make a movie that kills the Hero in the end?