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Rock Band Creators Hit With Class Action Lawsuit 79

GameCyteSean writes "GameCyte is reporting that Harmonix, EA, MTV and Viacom have been targeted by a class action lawsuit. Customers allege that the companies knowingly shipped defective bass drum pedals for the music game Rock Band, then exploited customers' necessity for replacements by having the game's hardware warranty extension expire just as the sequel, Rock Band 2 — a game with improved pedals — was scheduled to release." I wonder if we'll see a similar suit against Neversoft and Activision over the equipment problems related to the Guitar Hero World Tour launch.
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Rock Band Creators Hit With Class Action Lawsuit

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    How a class action lawsuit for all those who lose sleep because their [drunken] neighbours own Rock Band?

    • If you can listen to More Than a Feeling without stomping on the floor at 3a.m. you're just not getting the full enjoyment out of the game.
  • by carbon 68k ( 309023 ) on Saturday November 22, 2008 @04:49AM (#25856277)

    Settle now. Pay the plaintiff's attorneys, pay the heads of the class action, and make the pedals available for, say, another year.

    Almost by definition, it can't be much more expensive than fighting the lawsuit out, and it would make people feel a lot better about buying from the Rock Band franchise in the future.

    • by Tomster ( 5075 ) on Saturday November 22, 2008 @10:59AM (#25857569) Homepage Journal

      It's cheaper the first time 'round. But settling is just a way of telling everyone you'll roll over. Any company that does this is begging for another fifty class action lawsuits. Once the attorneys have been brought into play by the other team, you have to play the legal game.

      A better idea is mediation first, then if that fails bring out the attorneys. But in our legal system there is essentially no risk/cost associated with bringing a lawsuit, so that's what people do.


    • by mollymoo ( 202721 ) on Saturday November 22, 2008 @11:29AM (#25857737) Journal

      Almost by definition, it can't be much more expensive than fighting the lawsuit out, and it would make people feel a lot better about buying from the Rock Band franchise in the future.

      I do not think that phrase means what you think it means.

      • well, to be fair settling out of court is almost categorically cheaper than proceeding with the case. that is the whole purpose of an early settlement. petty semantics aside, he is absolutely correct.

        though in this case i don't think Harmonix, EA, Viacom, etc. really care--or need to care--about making people "feel better" about buying from them. who needs good PR when you've sold over 4 million units, have already generated over half a billion dollars in global revenue, and are selling 1 million downloadab

  • All these game makers getting the crap sued out of them? What's with all the class-actions? I know the quality of product has gone down, but I didn't know it was getting this bad.

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Its not the product -- its the people that sue who simply want money and fame.

    • It feels like quality IS that bad, IMHO. I recently purchased Rock Band from a local Target and within two weeks our kick was in four pieces. Another month past that and the yellow drum pad is dead as a doornail. Not happy with the failing equipment, but so far EA has been making good on replacing our parts in a timely manor - we got the new kick within a week of filing a complaint, and I've yet to send off about the pad, but I'm going to have to play a lot more cautiously once we're out of warranty, whic
      • by xero314 ( 722674 )
        You actually have a couple of options. You can play a little less aggressive, though as I pointed out else where I play the hell out of my kit and it works fine a year later. or you can buy a kit that will withstand the level of abuse (not meant negatively in this case) you deal upon it (which will cost $300 or more depending on the route you chose).
        • I have been playing less aggressively, but I feel like these kinds of things should be going through more rigorous testing if it has gotten this out of hand. It is just like the slew of complaints with the first batch of 360 wired guitars for Rock Band - utter shit in the strum bar. Someone, somewhere in QA must have been strumming down the whole time, never realizing that strumming up with anything more than a feather touch would result in an extra strum, or no strum registered at all.
    • I got mine from Best Buy, and paid the extra $30 for the extended warranty. Every time the pedal breaks, I bring it in, and they bust open a new box of Rock Band to give me the pedal inside. The remainder of the box goes back to Harmonix.

      It was happening a few times at first, then when I was having my cousins come over for Rock Band every night, the pedal was breaking on a nightly basis. Best record so far is a broken pedal 5 nights in a row. 11 broken pedals so far.

      I hope is enough people have done wha

  • Hopefully there won't be a Guitar Hero World Tour lawsuit.

    Activision surprisingly handled the overly sensitive drum kits pretty well by providing consumers with a drum tuning kit that you ran on your PC. They even sent you a MIDI -> USB cable for free if you didn't have one to hook up to the drums.

    I was at first unhappy about my defective drum kit, but after using the program, I'm a happy customer. Best of all, it didn't cost me a dime while I hear EA has been charging for 'repairs' to their defective ha

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by JimboFBX ( 1097277 )
      Yes, but that doesn't fix all issues, like the fact I to hit the cymbols near the hard plastic in order to get them to register as a crash, or the guitar that no longer downstrums and stores dont want to accept a return for. If I used their RMA, I would have to pay to ship their defective item back to them, then wait 3 weeks.

      So I bought a copy of guitar hero WT with just the guitar, swapped out mine for the new one, then returned it.

      The new guitar has a strummer that is squeakier than the guitar I own
      • by PsychosisBoy ( 1157613 ) on Saturday November 22, 2008 @09:15AM (#25857069)

        So I bought a copy of guitar hero WT with just the guitar, swapped out mine for the new one, then returned it.

        Congratulations! You have committed fraud.

        • Congratulations! You have committed fraud.

          More power to him. But think of the children! By defrauding someone of their money you are stealing it from them. And stealing really is taking time from another, is that something you can live with? Taking someones time? [thefttalk.com]

        • How is this fraud? What country do you live in where returning an identical item that is defective is fraud?
          • by LunarCrisis ( 966179 ) on Saturday November 22, 2008 @10:22PM (#25861813)

            Looking past the fact that two items are clearly not identical if one of them is defective. . .

            When you "return" something that means that you are "returning" it. Meaning that you are giving back what you got. If you "return" something else, you are misrepresenting it, and obviously it is fraud.

            • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

              by JimboFBX ( 1097277 )
              no dude it for one doesnt work that way at all.

              two I wasn't misrepresenting it by returning it and saying it was defective. Its not fraud at all. It literally costs the store nothing to return defective merchandise, which this was. They do RMAs all the time, they just stick it on the truck that does their loads when it heads back to the warehouse. The supplier reimburses the store (as they should) or gives it a replacement.

              In fact, literally the box that the guitar comes in for the band kit is identic
              • I said "box inside another box for the bundle", I meant "box inside another box for the band kit, then for the bundle they just slip a cheapo graphic that slides off over it".
              • I actually was on the receiving side of this a couple of years back. I purchased an XBox 360 at Walmart, brought it home and plugged the darn thing in only to get a 4 red light ring of death. Contacting Microsoft tech support, they requested the serial number on the back of the box, and informed me that it had been registered to another user over a year previously. Apparently some $%%hat had returned their old Xbox to the store claiming that it was a return rather than a rip off. After jumping thru the ho
          • So if you buy a bottle of milk and only drink half of it before it goes bad, you're saying it's perfectly fine to buy a new bottle of milk and return the old one claiming that it's the new one and was already bad when you bought it? Sorry, as much as you'd like to justify it in your mind it's still fraud.

    • I got a free midi cable from them and I didn't even buy world tour. I just got it because it was free and they didn't ask any verifiable questions. (and I have a clavinova, and now I can hook it up to my computer.)

      Also, I still have a sour taste in my mouth after Activision blocked the patches for the guitar hero 3 controller to work in RB1. Activision have surpassed EA as being the worst game company. EA is at least trying new IP, where Activision keeps recycling the same shit every year. John Ritticel

  • Wait, what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Gordonjcp ( 186804 ) on Saturday November 22, 2008 @09:15AM (#25857067) Homepage

    They're actually suing the manufacturer of a cheap plastic toy, which is designed to be stamped on, because it broke?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by maxume ( 22995 )

      Even worse, they are suing because the company released an improved version.

    • Re:Wait, what? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Walpurgiss ( 723989 ) on Saturday November 22, 2008 @10:05AM (#25857341)
      I think it is pretty stupid. The problem is people expect the plastic pedal housing a solenoid switch to be as strong as a real bass drum kick pedal. It is complete stupidity on the consumer's part. I got rock band at launch, and within 2 months we broke my pedal. My room mate plays drums and he really abused the thing, like he hits his when he plays. It broke in half. I fixed it by screwing a diamond plate cut to fit the pedal part, and it has worked perfectly since then, better than new. I think the class should lose based on just being stupid for thinking plastic == strength of metal. The only metal in the original pedal was literally the spring, metal on the pcb, and in the magnetic switch. Of course you can't stomp the shit out of it. If there's any case for class action, I'd think it would be the defective drum heads that shipped until a hardware revision a month or so later, or for the defective guitars that used leaf switches that fail after like 100,000 switches (Why even think that would be ok for this application?) Of course, they did offer free replacement for all of these problems, for months longer than a normal warantee for a game, and they covered shipping. Even would ship you the new gear first, if you'd give them a credit card # in case you didn't send yours back.
      • Re:Wait, what? (Score:4, Informative)

        by mollymoo ( 202721 ) on Saturday November 22, 2008 @11:52AM (#25857861) Journal

        The plastic pedals on my Logitech Driving Force GT can be stamped on. I stamp on them regularly (though not every time, I modulate when required). The pedals on my previous wheel, a Logitech GT Force, were also plastic. They got stamped on for seven years. You can make stamp-on-able things out of plastic, you just need enough of the right sort of plastic in the right places. Metal isn't the answer, you can make weak shit out of metal too, the answer is proper design.

        • RockBand pedals can be stamped on too. I've had mine since it came out and the bass drum pedal hasn't broken yet.

          I do agree I've had more sturdy pedals on even cheap wheels. But that's because bass drum pedals (like car pedals) are supposed to be a certain shape, and that shape is inherently less sturdy than a brake pedal.

          • So what mine broke the third time I played it. The plural of anecdote is not evidence.

            • I didn't say they don't break. Did you read my post?

              I said that saying that Logitech steering wheels have more sturdy pedals isn't a valid point. A bass drum pedal needs to be shaped like a bass drum pedal, and that's going to make it less sturdy than a brake pedal.

      • Yeah, I busted my pedal as well within a couple months. My guitar switch broke a lot faster, but I RMA'd that no problem. As for the pedal, I ordered one of the metal plates to screw into the plastic. That worked fine until I decided to buy a Yamaha DTXplorer kit and build a MIDI converter to make it interface with the original drum controller. Needless to say, the real kit is more durable, more realistic, and more fun.
      • Exactly. I bought a real bass drum pedal (for a drum synth, not Rock Band) and it was 15 quid. If the Rock Band bass drum pedal is just a switch, why not spend a tenner on a proper footswitch intended for something like the sustain pedal on a synth?

      • by Keeper ( 56691 )

        My pedal broke and I didn't stomp on it.

        The pastic they used on the pedal just wasn't designed to flex, yet the middle of the pedal would flex upward every time you pressed down on it, and then flex downward as you completed the stroke (if you still have an original pedal, try pressing it with just a sock on and you'll feel it). After awhile the plastic starts to crack along this flex point, eventually failing. Stomping only accelerates the rate of failure -- it isn't the primary cause of failure.

        The repl

    • cheap plastic toy, which is designed to be stamped on, because it broke?

      The problem is that it is clearly not designed to be stamped on, just intended to be. Which on one hand may be funny but on the other hand is the point. The fact that it doesn't take an engineering degree to see that the product couldn't hold up to its intended use doesn't make it better; it makes it worse.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by maxume ( 22995 )

        The flaw being really obvious weakens the case for the class. If the purchaser can see that it is a piece of junk, they can't really claim that they expected it to perform well.

      • by xero314 ( 722674 )

        The problem is that it is clearly not designed to be stamped on, just intended to be.

        That's not exactly true. Breaking one of these pedals requires either a defective piece or abuse. I have had mine for over a year (launch day kit), I play heal up (far more aggressive than heal down), and I play drums for real so I'm not exactly gentle on the thing. Even after playing uncountable hours on expert level drums my pedal is still as solid as day one. This pedal has also been used by many different people ranging in age and size so it's not just that I know how to avoid breaking it.

        If you re

        • by EvanED ( 569694 )

          Breaking one of these pedals requires either a defective piece or abuse.

          Don't confuse bad technique with abuse. We've broken two of them, and while I am very hard on the pedals, it's because when the bass drum hits become frequent, it's the only way I can get them because I'm not a drummer. (Did you consider that the fact that you are could actually contribute to you having better technique and thus being less hard on them?)

          • by xero314 ( 722674 )

            Did you consider that the fact that you are could actually contribute to you having better technique and thus being less hard on them?

            I did consider that which is why I also pointed out that a dozen other people have used my kit with varying levels of skill, mostly non-drummers (which by the way I said I play, not to be confused with actually being a drummer). My brother is not a drummer, is well over 200lbs and has not cracked his pedal after a year either. We have been through multiple sets of sticks from aggressive play, but have not even cracked any of the pedals we use (there are at least 4 drum kits between the group I play with).

    • It wasn't designed to be stomped on, but it probably should have. I'm not defending the class-action lawsuit (I think it's stupid), but the fact is that most people didn't use the drum pedal as a real drummer would (I know, since I've been drumming most of my life). Drummers don't stomp on the pedal - there's no need. Some use their toe with their heal raise, and some use their heal to press on the back of the pedal (it's a little quicker, but hard to maintain for long durations, IMO). Most people playing R

  • At least one guy had the 4 port usb hub that ships with rock band catch on fire.

    http://www.thebbps.com/blog/2008/10/20/rock-band-tried-to-burn-my-house-down/ [thebbps.com]

    I stumbled that a while ago.

  • It's a plastic little piece of shit. I've never played the game, nor will I, but I saw the picture. They expect this thing NOT to break?

    Far be it from me to defend the likes of EA, but seriously, the class? They should go fuck themselves on this one. :/

    This is like me buying a $1 toy at Dollar Tree, and then bitching when it breaks on the second use or so.

    • This is like me buying a $1 toy at Dollar Tree, and then bitching when it breaks on the second use or so.

      I picked up an usb led light at dollar tree the other day, I thought to myself... That's 4 quarters! I'll break a 5 for that! It broke the next night, so I'm going to have to back you up on the poor quality of Dollar Tree products.

  • Maybe, just maybe, this class action lawsuit will convince the general masses to buy real instruments?
    • by mccalli ( 323026 ) on Saturday November 22, 2008 @05:00PM (#25859921) Homepage
      Maybe, just maybe, this class action lawsuit will convince the general masses to buy real instruments?

      I'm a musician too - I write music and play keyboards. I'm a slightly above average player, fairly average writer (though I'd like to think differently of course). To reach those dizzying heights, it took me years of learning and practice. Years. I'm 36 now, I started learning when I was 9, haven't finished learning and doubt I ever will. Anyone on here who plays will be able to relate to that statement I think.

      I also own Rock Band and Guitar Hero III. Have really enjoyed playing Guitar Hero III, though I've not really got into Rock Band as yet due to lack of time. Am I for a moment fooled into thinking I could really play a guitar to that level? No, I'm not. How many years would it take me to play guitar at the required level of skill? A lot of years, and that's assuming I ever made it. These games - they're not a substitute for real musicianship, but then they're not supposed to be either. They're exactly what they say they are, music-based games. I have a lot of fun with them, and to deny myself that just because I know I'm not really playing a proper guitar just seems foolish.

    • Ok Mr. High and Mighty Musician....

      Most of us just want to have fun playing a game and listening to music. Do we want to be musicians? No! Do we think we are musicians? Nope.

      Tell me, do you also criticize people who sing karaoke if they don't go out and become professional singers?

    • by brkello ( 642429 )
      I really never understood why people objected to other people having fun with this game. They aren't going have as much fun making awful noises on a real instrument. I am sure you do some things I would find to be a waste of time, but I'm not going to judge you for it. And why in the world would a law suit convince people to play real instruments. They are totally unrelated.
  • Maybe if they weren't abusing the hell outta the pedals. Don't wear boots or anything on it and it won't break. I've used my old pedal since I got it in February and it still hasn't broke in half ... no signs of breaking either. I got my new drumset so I can use the old one for backup. This lawsuit is stupid imo.
  • None of those companies should worry. We all know that all those stoner Rock Band fans will never remember to show up for the planned court date.

  • On the box of a clockwork toy made in Hong Kong:
    * Guaranteed to work throughout its useful life.

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