It had to happen: game company releases hugely anticipated title, customers quite rightly request a refund when it doesn’t work as advertised, company states their terms prohibit returning the funds and ignores players. But the Diablo 3 South Korean community didn’t just accept defeat when this happened to them: they complained to their government, who raided Blizzard’s Seoul office on Monday and placed them under investigation.
At last. According to the Korean Times, the Korean Federal Trade Commission whether investigating if Blizzard’s refusal to refund the players is indeed lawful.
“We have received many complaints from Diablo 3 users,” said FTC spokesman Kim Hyung-bae, and confirmed the the developer are under investigation. The Times report that another FTC spokesman confirmed the details of the investigation.
Two points are being made: that Blizzard sold their customers a game with a contract that is “unfair” to the gamers, ie: that their terms mean that even those with a legitimate complaint would find it difficult to receive a refund. The other bone of contention is that Blizzard were “ill-prepared” for the launch. A lot of people that attempted to play Diablo 3 were met with numerous error messages and wouldn’t argue with that second one. Put both together and you end up with a lot of anger and frustration from people just wanting to click some demons to death.
This is a direct result of Blizzard’s DRM, that requires gamers to have an active internet connection even to play the single-player portion of their game. That infrastructure left their customers unable to access what they paid for. I’m baffled as to why Blizzard think that it’s accessible behavior to rebuff those that complain about the service they’re providing not working. Particularly when they tie the game’s authentication into their own servers: Blizzard know who has it, and they know can disable the game on the accounts and return the money. Their own DRM comes with a route to easily resolve the complaints. To choose to not is an astonishing show of obstinate behaviour from one of the richest game companies out there.