If you thought Blizzard was taking a lot of flak for how Diablo 3 launched in North America and Europe for its DRM and server issues – they’ve been under a lot more fire in South Korea. As we previously reported, the server outages in that region caused enough complaints that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) launched an investigation against Blizzard Seoul offices, beginning with a raid on the office itself.
Because of server issues? No, it’s because Blizzard does not allow refunds on Diablo 3 and by Korean law, that’s not allowed if there are problems with a product not caused by the consumer.
Korea’s consumer protection laws thereby protect gamers who want a refund if there game doesn’t work, and since Diablo 3 didn’t while servers were down, and since the FTC has documents showing that the game sold with an “unfair” contract that does not allow gamers to refund, the FTC then just had to determine if Blizzard sold the game knowing the servers couldn’t handle the capacity. If that was the case, Blizzard would have to issue refunds to those requesting it and as we learned today, that’s exactly what Blizzard is doing (with conditions).
If a South Korean player has beaten the game, they understandably cannot get a refund. As Blizzard posted on their official Korean Diablo 3 page, players who lower than level 40 can get a refund and players who purchase the game going forward, can get a refund up to level 20, meaning Blizzard is officially accepting refunds going forward for Diablo 3 in Korea.
To address the server issues and to make it up to players, Blizzard expanded the number of servers and offered a free 30-day trial for StarCraft 2. Fortunately for Blizzard, Diablo 3 is the fastest selling PC game of all time and now that the real-money auction house is up, they’re making profit over every single digital transaction between players which means the cost of refunding the game to requesting Korean players is minuscule in the grand scheme of things.
Follow me on Twitter @rob_keyes.