Koreans aren’t exactly known for being casual gamers – and it’s due to the fact that they love gaming. With nightlifes devoted to hours in PC bangs (net cafes) instead of bars and clubs, it’s safe to say that Koreans take their gaming seriously. How serious? Some disgruntled Diablo III users have resorted to taking serious legal action in Blizzard’s latest hit.
Since Diablo III was released, everyone around the world has taken up similar habits, investing inordinate amounts of time into the game, while also navigating bugs and other in-game issues that rocked its launch. Blizzard has been hard a work addressing these snags and the game has stabilized to a point where these issues are rare. This isn’t enough for some gamers however, and the company is seeing some blowback in South Korea where the Blizzard Seoul offices were recently raided by Korean authorities.
Complaints to the country’s Fair Trade Commission, regarding refunds to unhappy players, led the FTC to launch an investigation into Blizzard’s activities (starting with a raid) to deem whether the company is guilty of violating Korean law on electronic commerce and commercial contracts (since there was no return policy).
The majority of complaints were focused on server shutdowns – after which players demanded refunds but were refused. Blizzard defended itself, citing the double server capacity and pledged to continue improving services for their customers. Regardless, hundreds of users filed formal complaints with the FTC, resulting in an investigation and subsequent raid. The FTC says they have secured documents related to the case along with other evidence that will help confirm if Blizzard sold the game using what they are calling an “unfair” contract to keep players from receiving refunds, despite issues with the game – boiling it down to whether or not the company were knowingly unprepared and released the game anyway. If it’s determined that Blizzard broke the law, the company will be forced to issue refunds to the players requesting them.
Diablo III is out now for PC and Mac OS X
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