Gearbox and SEGA respond to class-action lawsuit filing

Aliens: Colonial Marines

By on May 3, 2013 at 1:51 pm

SEGA and Gearbox have now responded to yesterday’s news of a class-action lawsuit being brought against them for false advertising over Aliens: Colonial Marines.

Gearbox’s comment says that “Attempting to wring a class action lawsuit out of a demonstration is beyond meritless.”

“We continue to support the game, and will defend the rights of entertainers to share their works-in-progress without fear of frivolous litigation.”

Meanwhile, SEGA’s own statement is somewhat less combative, but says: “SEGA cannot comment on specifics of ongoing litigation, but we are confident that the lawsuit is without merit and we will defend it vigorously.”

Source: IGN via llllTrooperllll

35 comments (Leave your own)

you broke the law, we all know it. I hope the class action is successful and makes a precedent for further action against developers releasing misleading advertisements. This shit needs to be taken more seriously given how many developers do it intentionally, and Sega is notorious for it.

I also hope this doesn’t end in a settlement, the class action is not for compensation rather IMO to make an example of them.

 

gammad,

Yeah, there’s a difference between “this is alpha footage so no promises” versus “this will be the game we promise”.

Getting caught out for being deliberately misleading shouldn’t really be considered “frivolous litigation.”

 

Yeah there’s good reason most trailers are plastered with THIS FOOTAGE DOES NOT REPRESENT THE FINAL PRODUCT

Otherwise the people behind Bioshock Infinite would arguably be just as easy to sue, for example. Disclaimers matter.

 

hobomaster,

That disclaimer is a load of crap. Pre-Alpha as a term has just become a bullshit excuse.. there’s no actual such thing as “Pre-Alpha” there is “Pre-Production” which the consumer never sees anyway.. so why the hell are PR and Marketing showing alpha prototypes to the masses?! this stuff is supposed to be for shareholders only, and even they can sue for misleading advertisement (wouldn’t be the first time.. I mean fuck 38 Studio much?)

Just because its video games doesn’t make it ok. We have consumer laws for a reason, time we started enforcing them.

 

Again it’s not going to work. The only chance of successful litigation would be Sega vs Gearbox over misuse of funds. Currently all games that are pre-ordered are pretty much buyer beware. As with pretty much everything these days.

 

RSOblivion,

Buyer beware sure… but you can still use your consumer rights, if the product was misleading you’re entitled to a refund or replacement. I could certainly see this being part of a settlement agreement (hardly worth the effort but still it could be pretty damaging if enough people did it).. but the point is that its drawn attention to it which in the end hurts them PR wise in the event people weren’t already aware of what was going on.

 

I can’t believe anyone actually thinks that “buyer beware” is a defence to anything. It’s not.

As for this article, “well they would say that, wouldn’t they”.

 

Typical PR bullshit. Even if the promotional material did have the “work in progress” label, the general assumption would be that the finished product would look better – not worse – than the promotional material.

 

Didn’t say “buyer beware” was a defence. Just that courts do. If you want to change the status quo, especially in kangaroo court land, the system is what needs to be addressed. Then the companies who do crap like this can be held accountable. Until then beware of snake oil salesmen and people named Randy…

 

I have no sympathy for anyone who didn’t wait for reviews.
I have no issues with it because I looked at it and thought “cool i’ll wait for reviews”, then I thought “Sounds and looks pretty shit, think i’ll give it a miss”.

Also I like Randy Pitchford he’s a nice guy.

 
Ralph Wiggum

There’s a difference between expectations based on principle and expectations based on legality. On principle people expect the final product of A:CM to be similar/better than the demo. But legally there’s no expectation that the demo should reflect the final product as long as the ‘work in progress’ disclaimer is there. The actual advertisments for the final product weren’t a mispresentation, but you can’t exactly pick out a bad game through a fancily edited ad. Ultimately this court case will fail IMO.

And this is coming from someone who pre-ordered the Collector’s Edition..

 

i preordered the game, installed it, played it, finished it, played mp for a bit, i thought it was alright. definitely not the worst game ive ever played. hardly an embarrassment. as a fan of the series and someone – as ive previously said – not jaded by the industry, i give it 3/5. serviceable if flawed. at the VERY least it never crashed on me, which is more than can be said about nearly ever bethedsa game released…

… oh and i like duke nukem forever too.

 

It seems they were promoting it based on these trailers. At least with CG trailers you know that isn’t in game footage, But they were showing off in game footage so why wouldn’t you expect that.

 

I can see them actually making the game that good looking and then butchering it when it ran at 5fps on the xbox 360.

 
Ralph Wiggum

cyrinno,

According to insider sources that’s exactly what happened; there’s a few articles floating around.

 

ralphwiggum: But legally there’s no expectation that the demo should reflect the final product as long as the ‘work in progress’ disclaimer is there.

Consumer law is very clear in Australia that a Demo does in fact have to represent the final product regardless of ANY disclaimers.

http://www.consumer.vic.gov.au/shopping/refunds-and-returns/problems-with-a-product/does-not-match-the-description-sample-or-demo-model

Anyway Software and Videogames are subjected to the same laws, at least in Australia there is precedence here.

 

RSOblivion,

The game they showed was also bad.

PalZer0,

Am I the only one that thought the promo material was terrible? No AI to the aliens (which was obviously turned off), environments way too dark (they brighten it up and actually get the framerate actually working during optimisations for live rendering) and all the parts the reporters played were absolutely terrible (such as the trailer I posted here during numerous pre-release A:CM articles).

gammad,

Except then that gives a ridiculously stupid setup for people to start sueing devs for having dev diaries, which show a work in progress, and the world becomes pants-on-head retarded as people begin to cease showing their products for fear of becoming another victim in the moronic sue-happy society that we’re on the verge of becoming.

gammad: this stuff is supposed to be for shareholders only,

That’s called insider trading. All information released by a company has to be made public if they’re a public company, and if proprietary then they’d only release it to attract new shareholders (who wouldn’t even be interested in the bloody footage to begin with). You really know nothing about ASX laws that are based on International standards?

You somehow think shareholders would be privvy to promo material (PROMO) for a game that in no way purports to be in any way related to the main game. They had to have warning messages on cruise control manuals for the man that thought the car would stay in a straight line for god’s sakes; we already have to have ‘THIS IS ALPHA, HEY MATE, ARE YOU BLIND, THIS IS ALPHA, WHY WOULD YOU SUE, ARE YOU A MORON?’ Common sense should prevail.

Funny thing too Gamma about demo models, they actually have to be playable. The ‘initial trailer’ (again, I repeat, it looked terrible; I created the WP thread about A:CM years ago and abandoned it when the promo material came to fruition) clearly wasn’t working and was just the game running on rails as they had no AI, setting, lighting, optimisations to get consistent framerate, etc done yet for the first one.

FYI, you bought the product’s sample model essentially a day before it released. You may have ORDERED it (the games industry is technically ordering and not ‘pre-ordering’) before then, but you had a right to cancel it any time.

If the footage you were shown the day beforehand was significantly different (it wasn’t) then you’d have a right. But youtube was plastered with terrible gameplay anyway, so it shouldn’t have mattered.

 

rapid101: That’s called insider trading. All information released by a company has to be made public if they’re a public company, and if proprietary then they’d only release it to attract new shareholders

They merely need to put out a press release, not release prototypes are strictly internal and if the developer wants to can subject them to NDAs which in fact are legally binding, I mean heck they do it all the time. They don’t have to show jack, just announce that they are in fact developing it and show it on their books. Beyond that the public doesn’t have to see the prototypes, there is no obligation there at all and the industry has never worked like that until about a decade ago.

Prototypes aren’t normally supposed to be displayed to the public. For investors sure they should be shown alphas because they need to know what exactly is going on here and the progress that’s been made. We’re not investors. We’re consumers. Had this been put into say an early-access or crowd sourcing initiative then it’d be fine.. you are after all taking a risk, this is fine but they’re still subjected to consumer and investment law either way and could still be potentially sued for it.

With that said though there is a sure way to avoid disappointment and that is to simply not buy. Which’d be majority of peoples options, and if this happens, studios will collapse, you’ll loose competition and have fewer choices in games. Industry stagnates.

What they need to do is stop being dickheads and treat their consumers with respect.. People bought the game, people in many cases tried to compromise.. people would love to see Gearbox do the right thing would even give them the benefit of the doubt to eventually fix the game… but they won’t. They deserve whats coming to them. The consumer decides the fate of the industry, lets not forget this.. respect them and you’ll prosper.. betray them.. suffer the consequences. Really as simple as that. This fiasco has hurt them both big time regardless of if this case goes through or not. Sega was already have problems, this has made them much worse.

 

Sadly, while Gearbox sorely need a good thumping around the head I doubt there will be much actual legal ground to get a successful verdict here.

What I’d like to see as a more practical solution are tighter consumer protection laws like Europe has. Being able to return software made with clearly dubious intent like A:CM would really put the brakes on developers and publishers using deception and media embargos to pass off shoddy products as something they are not. Sadly the USA and Australia have no such protection like Europe has.

 

ralphwiggum,

Seems odd that they’d butcher the PC version as well then. Fie on consoles as lead platforms.

 
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