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PC Games (Games) Government Role Playing (Games) The Courts Entertainment Games News

Gamer Sues MMORPG After Losing Items 97

Posted by simoniker
from the goodbye-items-hello-anguish dept.
xneilj writes "According to Ananova.com, a Chinese gamer is believed to be suing Korean-based JC Entertainment, after losing in-game items in the PC MMO title RedMoon Online. As well as the return of his lost items, he is also seeking over $1200 for 'mental anguish'." The article explains: "Li, from Beijing, had built up his stock of virtual weaponry while playing RedMoon over the last two years... When he discovered all of his awarded equipment had disappeared, he contacted the provider for help, but the company refused to take any responsibility for the loss."
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Gamer Sues MMORPG After Losing Items

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  • Good for him (Score:2, Insightful)

    by LordNimon (85072)
    Commercial software vendors should be held liable for bugs in their code.
  • by GigsVT (208848) on Friday August 22, 2003 @12:07PM (#6766458) Journal
    I think it would be funny for an MMORPG to mess with their whiny users sometime. Something like roving bandits that steal items when you are asleep in an inn. It would really drive home the point that you don't "own" anything in the game.
  • This is why... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AaronBaker2000 (480581) on Friday August 22, 2003 @12:08PM (#6766466) Homepage
    This is exactly why Sony tries to prevent the sale of virtual items in Everquest. If it can be proven that that these virtual items have monetary value, then the developers can be sued everytime a server crashes.

    Generally, I believe that in these situations, we should let the market decide what has value. However, I really don't like the idea of game developers getting sued.

    • Re:This is why... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by saden1 (581102)
      This guy invested over two years of his time and money playing and collecting items. This is analogus to my email provider losing all my important emails. I would call them up and say, hay you lost all my important emails and I want them back. I expect them to respond and get all my emails from their backup system. If they say we are not going to do that then you bet your ass I'd sue them. It is not my fault they lost them so why should all the responsibility fall on me? They should have adequate system in
      • How about making your own backups? If you did, you would have your own copies and not have to worry about other people's failure(s) to keep up with your stuff. You do have a good point though, since if you couldn't make your own backups of emails or whatever then it would be the responsibility of the provider to maintain a backup.
        • Nooooooow...... explain how *YOU* would be able to backup items in an MMORPG without being seen as cheating?? (Oops! I lost my extremely-rare, nearly-godlike weapon... I know... My backup!) No, that is the responsibility of the game developers and those that administer the actual running of the game to maintain data integrity and correct/compensate for any glitches. Albeit, it's only a game, but a game that would go bankrupt if gamers weren't satisfied and left. Frankly, it's good coding practice to CYA
      • Re:This is why... (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        I expect them to respond and get all my emails from their backup system.

        How is your host responsible for your e-mails again?
        Especially if they run POP? Enlighten us here.

        Personnaly I think you are retarded ass panzy if you think that someone else is responsible for your property/actions on said property.
        • Comparing this to email isnt the best. Im sure he is refering to IMAP. And "Especially if they run POP? Enlighten us here" makes YOU sound like a retarded ass panzy. What MMORPG game lets you store your inv./character/stats on your own computer and doesnt store it on the server. Comparing it to email (IMAP) isnt good because with email you CAN backup your own files. With MMORPG's there is no way of doing this. You pay for the game, and then pay a monthly fee to have them store your stuff on their serv
          • Lets say I pay yahoo a service fee $30 for 50MB mailbox. Any important email I get, I store it in an important folder. Now lets say yahoo somehow deletes my account. Shouldn't they have some kind of mechanism of:
            1) Verifying that I am the rightful owner of the account and its contents.
            2) Retrieve my account from their backup system?

            I think this is a perfect analogy and really think the gamer will win this case.
      • #1

        He invested time and money in to his own personal enjoyment. He wasn't buying property, he wasn't buying shares of the company, wasn't putting his money in some sort of game bank to get some ROI.

        He invested in those items as much as someone invests their Monopoly play money to buy hotels for Boardwalk.

        The company probably should reimburse him if his items were lost due to their fault, and they want him to stay on as a paying customer, but nowhere in any agreement (at least none that I've seen) is there
        • investing time and money and enjoying yourself are not mutually exclusive.

          I rent movies and I'm entertained while watching them. Now according to you if the dvd skips a few frames now and then I'm not entitle to go back to the movie rental place and ask for either a refund or a exchange for a disk that works.

          The game company is providing a service and is operating a business. The have obligations to you as a customer.

          As for my emails, i pay them to host it and to keep them secure. I can certainly keep a
      • Not necessarily.

        The game has a EULA that he probably clicked through to agree with their policies. Granted, this is slashdot, and we hate EULAs, but he agreed to their terms of service. It might suck, it might not be fair, etc., they may not be legal based on various local, state, federal, international, or galactic laws, but that's the current state of affairs.

        Oh, and it's not analogous, because important email is important, and online game characters are not. ;P
        • What is not important you might be important to someone else. Your car is important to you but it is not to me. Frankly, if some trashed it I wouldn't give a rats ass.

          I think you need to reevaluate that last statement you have made.
      • I played Red Moon a long time ago...

        Database corruptions are not uncommon!

        One day, I log in, everyone had lost something. Not a full loss, but enough to upset the majority of players.

        Their fix, give every character 20 million, which was alot. Well, I wound up with 80 million and I didn't lose anything of value. My friend had quite the same setup and a demo account as well.

        People were quick to adjust to the new economy and they wanted every cent you had plus a few more if you wanted to replace a hard to
    • I guess if I was this guys lawyer, I would say this was no different than a domain registar losing someones domain, like the sex.com case. Verisign tried to argue that domains weren't property, so they shouldn't have to give the guy any compensation.

      Not sure I'd buy that if I was judging the case but I can't think of how this is different.

      • Game items are in a fantasy world, where if the game ended tomorrow, there'd be no reason for the items to continue to exist.

        Domain names are in the real world - specifically the Internet. If the Internet were to cease to exist tomorrow, then the domain names would have zero value.

        Games are usually handled by a single company, so they could go out of business and take the game with it - the game can't exist without the business.

        The Internet won't be going away any time soon - the Internet will exist when
    • Monetary value? The only value money has is in the minds of people. Your money has value because enough people believe it. Enough people believe that USD100 is actually worth 10x USD10. If people don't believe it has value it's just a piece of coloured paper or a bunch of bits in a computer. If enough people believe that a particular USD1 bill is worth USD10000, then it is. Sometimes one person is enough.

      MMORPG = lots of people. If you're the game provider, if those people don't find your game valuable you
    • As per Kevin Smith: We're talking about Fictional Items, Fic-tion-al i-tems am I getting through to you at all?

      Some people need to get a life and discover the difference between fantasy and reality. Moreover, I fully expect future games to have grand disclaimers such as:
      "Characters and good attained in this game are completely fictional and have no value outside of the game itself. XXX Entertainment Corp is not responsible in any way for any monentary loss due to this game, including the loss of said fic
  • by recursiv (324497) on Friday August 22, 2003 @12:08PM (#6766470) Homepage Journal
    That is an addict.
    Overstating importance.
    It is just a game.
  • by Blackwulf (34848) on Friday August 22, 2003 @12:10PM (#6766488) Homepage
    I've been playing a lot of the mainstream US-based MMOG's over the past few years. And every time a gamer doesn't get their way, they yell "I'M GONNA SUE VERANT/MYTHIC/ORIGIN/TURBINE/SOE!" But they never do, and then wonder why noone else does.

    "OMG The server has been down for 10 minutes I'M GONNA SUE!!! Why hasn't someone started a Class Action Lawsuit yet???"

    Because EVERYONE who wants to start one always says the same thing. "Why doesn't someone else start one?"

    It's good to now see that someone actually had the balls to back up their words with a lawyer, and possibly players can be pointed to the outcome of this...Because I'm pretty sure it's gonna be thrown out of court really really fast. (Yes, I realize this is not a US or even North American lawsuit. I'm just commenting on the principal of actually doing what you threaten...Soemthing we rarely see gamers do, anywhere.)
    • "OMG The server has been down for 10 minutes I'M GONNA SUE!!! Why hasn't someone started a Class Action Lawsuit yet???"
      Because EVERYONE who wants to start one always says the same thing. "Why doesn't someone else start one?"


      That's not the problem - the problem is finding a lawyer interested in the case.

      While I'm not suggesting a company should be sued if a server goes offline for 10 minutes (or even a day), consider SEGA's case. They asked us to buy Dreamcasts and online titles, factoring the cost into t
      • This case (the Alien Front Online) sounds like a perfect case for Small Claims Court - you would more than likely get reimbursed for the cost of the game, plus filing fees, etc. Wonder if there is a statute of limitations on this?
        • This case (the Alien Front Online) sounds like a perfect case for Small Claims Court - you would more than likely get reimbursed for the cost of the game, plus filing fees, etc.

          But a small claims court only solves the problem for me. A class action lawsuit solves the problem for everybody, plus makes it less likely that the company (or others) will do the same thing in the future.

          If anybody here just got a law degree and thinks winning a class action may be a way to get noticed, let me know.
    • I'm going to sue. I'm going to pick up this phone, contact my lawyer, and sue their asses into oblivion. I'm going to hit them so hard that... oh wait, "sexychic49" is online again. Maybe she'll be interested in my +10 long staff of endurance... I'll think about sueing again later.
  • Sad (Score:5, Funny)

    by Kethinov (636034) on Friday August 22, 2003 @12:19PM (#6766563) Homepage Journal
    I thought the US was the only country where the laws were screwed up enough to allow this kind of silliness.
  • by Alpha27 (211269) on Friday August 22, 2003 @12:24PM (#6766609)
    As the user logs in, monstrous soudns eminate from his machine. Once his avatar arrives in teh virtual world, he is greeted by level 10 demilawyers from the lands of ligitation.

    "We shall smite you, puny game player for blasphemous lies that our gods have misplaced your goods"

    User's avatars is dismembered by the mighty lawyers, and they perform the dance of death on the player's avatar's parts.

    *** Your account has been deleted ***

    *** Have a pleasant day ***
  • by Anonymous Coward
    sowplz.
  • Or, since this is China, perhaps the court system can be convinced that this guy's hands need a good break, perhaps one or two compound fractures. This guy needs to quit whining and turn the game off. Seriously, I realize that a lot of time can go into one of these games to get some cool item, but its just a game, nothing more.
  • by MMaestro (585010)
    Note the fact that the article doesn't give any details about how or when the item loss occured. Was there a bug? Did the server crash and his data/equipment was corrupted and thus disgarded? Was there a hacker who hacked into the database and took his stuff? Maybe one of his friends decided to play a prank? Maybe the guy is just an idiot and left the items somewhere and forgot where?

    The article gives no information on this; thus the guy gets no sympathy from me.

  • He lost virtual items, refund him in virtual money or simply replace the items.
  • bleh (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 22, 2003 @12:46PM (#6766862)
    According to Ananova.com, a Chinese gamer is believed to be suing Korean-based JC Entertainment... over things that don't exist. This story has no substance. That's comparable to saying, "The Lochness Monster is rumored to have eaten a ghost."

    Moving on, licenses for games like that always have a clause protecting them from this. Something like, "Sew and Sow, Inc. cannot be held responsible for lost or stolen items. Press OK if you agree to these terms."
    • Re:bleh (Score:3, Insightful)

      Yes and such licenses are totally and utterly worthless. We been through the shrinkwrap licenses and they don't stand up in court. This guy used a paid for product from service that didn't live up to his expectations. This is nothing different then a garage failing to fix your car or an the post office losing your mail. It is now up to the courts to decide if they find that this is just acceptable risk or that the company is accountable for the loss.

      We need to stop threating computers as somehow magically

  • Game VS. Service (Score:3, Informative)

    by Metroid72 (654017) on Friday August 22, 2003 @01:23PM (#6767204)
    Gee, I've never played a MMORPG, but I wonder if in the service agreement(s) there are provisions for these kind of things.

    It's a fact that the whole service is complex and relies on computers (just like your Bank ATM), computers FAIL (and always will, no matter what). However, you never try to sue your bank if the ATM is offline. (You might sue if they wipe out your money)

    Who knows, maybe they should guard the db of items just as a bank guards the computers that have your checking account balance.
    On the flip side, it may not make business sense. (Until they figure out the best model for online gaming... but that will always depend on the game!)

    The fact that the guy is basically wasting time (ironic, because we do so by reading slashdot also...) by playing the game, does not mean that it's fair that he should lose 2 years worth of 'work' because of a glitch, someone should be able to restore his character stats. The nature of the game demanded the guy to work towards building your items. (We do the same playing RPG's: building levels, buying expensive armor, spells, whatever... it takes time)

    Any ideas?
    • A "bank for items"? Really, really nice idea. The only "real" problem would be making it secure enough. (ie. hacker heaven since they wouldn't have to hack individual accounts)

      And he didn't lose any stats. Just items. The article states that clearly. But the fact that "most" MMORPGs are geared towards item gathering, there is a level which he is justified. However, the level is really the topic of discussion. Do virtual items have a monitary value in the real world? If no, then the guy is screwed. If yes,

  • ...pretentious apathetic-reductionistic opinion, but... The guy's invested time and money, and they've fleeced him by their negligence of backups. He has a right to complain.
  • by LazyBoy (128384) on Friday August 22, 2003 @01:36PM (#6767324)
    Oh good, a virgin field for the lawyer plague.

    Maybe they can ruin it more realisticly by holding court inside the MMORPG.

  • I can't believe I am actually agreeing with this loser after he spent 2 YEARS living in a virtual world. The bottom line is that he paid to use their system and the expectation when you purchase a service is that it is going to function as advertised. In his case it did not. If this were a free system, such as a MUD, then I would dismiss his loses right away. The fact that he paid for the service changes everything.
    • You may pay to use the system and expect tons of stuff, but the fact of the matter is that in every MMORPG out there you have to accept a mile-long EULA before even being able to put in your login and password. That EULA covers the game developer's/distributor's ass against anything like this (or anything at all, really). Yes, he put lots of effort into the game, yes it does suck that he lost his items, but the unfortunate truth is that is as far as this lawsuit is going to get.
      • You're assuming, of course, that the EULA is worth the electrons it's printed on. Unless he's in a UCITA state or a country that has explicitly adopted these Diktat "agreements" as legally binding, he may well have a case.
        • I find it hard to believe it's not legally binding when they're not being unreasonable in what they're making a user agree too. That, and he/she is confirming their acceptance of the agreement (regardless of whether they actually read the thing through or not).
          • I'm not so sure an honest judge and jury would consider a company selling the maintenance of an identity and possessions in a virtual world, then disclaiming an obligation to maintain those for the purchaser would constitute a reasonable agreement. In fact, the EULA, even in jurisdictions where it could be considered binding, could have those provisions stricken as unconscionable, and be overridden by an implied warranty of merchantability.

            IANAL, but it looks like it's not open and shut either way, and cert

    • You realise that what your saying would bankrupt all MMORPG companies

      If you know even the slightest thing about programming you will know that it is imposible to rid a program of bugs and even getting close to bug free software takes alot of time and money which is why only places like hospitals use that kind of software

      so they cannot stop things like this

      and they cannot give the items back because if they do so then they will get thousands of people yelling "i lost my uber sword of killing give me a new
  • In my experience the guy could have had his entire character deleted and not deserve anything. This sort of item/data/uptime loss thing has been covered in the licensing terms of every commercial MMO game I've ever played.

    Heck, I've even seen the same treatment in MUDs, the imms don't want to waste time with whining players and all the lying ones that would also try to cache in as well and they shouldn't.
    • er.. s/cache/cash, might as well beat someone else to making fun of me, I'm so pathetic ^^
    • Software companies can (and do) put lots of silly things in software licenses. Many of them may not hold up in court.

      And yes, it may seem silly for someone to sue over losing virtual items in a game. But big game companies are big business. When they start taking peoples money, they assume a certain level of responsibility to their customers that cannot be "disclaimed away". I don't know whether this guy will win. But, it should cause game companies to take better care of their customer's data.
  • by Hoi Polloi (522990) on Friday August 22, 2003 @02:54PM (#6768081) Journal
    I'm suing the makers of Nethack for killing my little pet doggy.
  • make it stop (Score:3, Insightful)

    by August_zero (654282) on Friday August 22, 2003 @03:21PM (#6768309)
    If you are suffering mental anguish from losing something in a game that is supposed to be for fun you need to find a new hobby.

    I hope this twit gets laughed out of court, I really can't sympathize with him. Its his own fault for holding his imaginary items in such high esteem.

    What next? People suing Nintendo because they can't beat super mario brothers? Suing Microsoft because of mental angusih suffered while playing online and getting owned at Mech Assualt? Should I sue Lucasarts because my KOTOR save game got ruined after 30 hours and I had to start over? Where does it end?
  • by Samus (1382) on Friday August 22, 2003 @03:39PM (#6768534) Journal
    I see people here saying he invested his time and money into the game and lost it. I totally disagree. When you make an investement you are placing resources somewhere that they will grow into something better for you. This guy didn't do that. He spent some money and time playing a game. It was pure entertainment, nothing more.
    Now he has paid for a service. That service has failed to live up to his expectations. If you have a magazine subscription and the magazine takes a direction you don't like do you sue them? No. You either don't renew your subscription and move on or you cancel it right away and ask for the rest of your money back. Yes the company shouldn't have ignored him but when they gave him the brush off he should have packed up and left.
    • Ok...But what about this guy [slashdot.org]? He's obvious not wasting time by "just playing a game." He's trying to support his family. Would he have a right to sue if he lost his account in a server crash?

      As a company, you can state that you are providing a game as a service. However, it's not really your call. The market may decide that your "game" is actually a real economy.

      • I was going to reply back to you with a yes on that guy and a no on this one but I got to thinking about it more. In life shit happens. I don't sue my mutual fund company b/c my fund values plummet. I might if I could prove some kind of gross negligence. In most normal circumstances there is a risk associated with the stock market and to play you have to accept that risk. If that guy wants to risk the well being of his family by playing a game, he has to accept the risk involved. My brother is studyin
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Redmoon asks you to sign(err... click) an ToS agreement like most MMOs. One of the key factors is that they cannot be blamed for lost items(for any reason) characters(ditto) or even game time(so in effect, if you paid 3 months of service but they shut down the servers for 3 months the day you paid, you couldn't even sue for your money back, although the guys at redmoon are pretty nice and would most likely reimburse you anyways)

    Hope this clears some things up.
    • The problem with such ToS: contracts are only valid if both sides get something of value. Paying for a service (even an entertainment service) and getting nothing because they offlined the servers the day you signed up would be a violation of basic contract law. Any court based on common law would entitle you to getting your money back despite what the ToS claims.

      Therefore, ToS documents are only legal claims made by the seller. Some or all of those claims can be invalidated by a court because in a disagre
  • I don't know about RedMoon, but most companies i"ve dealt with have Terms of Service with specific clauses for this kind of thing. So the whole discussion of sueing other companies becomes moot (unless there is another stupid company out there with similar terms).

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