A gamer in San Jose, California has had enough of being jerked around by vicious video game companies and is suing to have his rights restored – although things aren’t going well so far. His lawsuit against the PlayStation Network has been thrown out so, following the obvious line of recourse, he’s set his sights on Microsoft and Nintendo instead!
The story so far finds the plaintiff banned from using PSN for blatant disregard of user agreement policies and multiple offenses while playing online. No word on exactly what those offenses were, but I’m sure we all have a few ideas, since most gamers know the dos and don’ts of online play. As a result of his banishment, the gamer sued PSN for $55,000 and all of the virtual-points he had purchased on his account. He also asked the judge to create an injunction that would no longer allow PSN to ban players from their network, for any reason, claiming the ban restricted his right to freedom of speech. The judge found PSN and the SCEA innocent of any offense, essentially upholding that PSN has the right to run their business as they see fit.
But the plaintiff isn’t giving up.
The angry ex-PSN user is now in the process of simultaneously suing Microsoft and Nintendo for damages that have impeded his pursuit of happiness. That’s right folks, this gamer has gone patriotic, even quoting the Declaration of Independence in court to get $75,000 from his gaming publisher abusers. The plaintiff is suing Microsoft for the failure of his Xbox 360 system, as it displayed the “red ring of death,” and had to be replaced. In addition, he’s suing Nintendo for a recent update that disables unauthorized third party programs on the Wii. According to an article on GameSpot, the plaintiff is specifically angry about losing the ability to play as Princess Rosalina in Mario Kart Wii – and who wouldn’t be?
This fellow-gamer relies heavily on his systems for happiness and interaction – according to the lawsuit against Microsoft he suffers from “agoraphobia, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, and Crohn’s disease.” The lawsuit also states that his interactions on Xbox Live are “one of only two ways he relies on to socialize”.
It’s unfortunate when we hear stories like this. When gaming becomes a true obsession rather than entertainment – a normal hobby. It makes you wonder how much danger we are in when playing games, what are we missing out on? Normally, I’d say I’m fine with my video-game hobby, that it doesn’t affect my life negatively, but I spent eight hours playing Assassin’s Creed 2 on Saturday trying to capture every feather and glyph in the game – isn’t that a little crazy too?
Gamers like the plaintiff in this story give the gaming industry a bad name. In some people’s eyes, if you’re playing on Xbox Live you might as well be building a meth lab: gaming, the gateway drug to other social disorders. We have to rely on each other and our own willpower to keep our hobby relevant and safe.
I won’t lecture all of you, and I’m certainly not saying healthy video-game playing isn’t great, but let’s all think carefully about how much time we want to spend driving a virtual-kart as Princess Rosalina and how much time we want to spend with our real, flesh and blood, friends.
What are your thoughts on the lawsuits? A gamer gone too far or a valiant fight against tyranny?