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UK Gamers Can Now Get Their Money Back For Publishers' Broken Promises 74

An anonymous reader writes: An amendment to the UK Consumer Rights Act regarding digital-only purchases seems to give British videogamers redress towards publishing houses which deliver buggy code or inveigle consumers to pre-order games based on trailers or betas that demonstrate features, characters or quality not delivered in the RTM release. But the legislation is so loosely worded as to be an invitation to litigation and interpretation, and does not address mis-delivery issues for consumer models such as cloud subscriptions.
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UK Gamers Can Now Get Their Money Back For Publishers' Broken Promises

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  • As a hardcore Worms fan, I was delighted that Worms 4 for the iPhone recently came out. I paid my five bucks, played the first ten levels and deleted the game from my iPad. Worms 4 is a Nintendo-bastardization with simple graphics more appropriate for four-year-olds, Facebook interface that is shoved into your face, and none of the usual mayhem that made previous Worms games so much fun. Surprisingly, Apple gave my five bucks back with a minimal amount of fuss. Since I no longer owned the game, my negative
  • by willworkforbeer ( 924558 ) on Thursday October 01, 2015 @01:55PM (#50637135)
    "Those features were't exactly promised, think of them more as 'Volkswagen-Promised.'"

    # IVWP ("I VW-Promise" The corollary to 'fingers-crossed promises' for the 21st century. )
  • One of the worst debacles in unfinished games, the one that opened my eyes to the "new model" of game and software delivery, was the release of battlefield 3. Absolutely broken game. Then they started releasing dlc/shorcut packs/premium subscription models, BEFORE the game was even patched. After that, I made an oath to NEVER buy a game on release day. No more preorders. I will wait, sometimes over a year, until a game is finally playable before I buy it. Gaming masses were marked as suckers.
    • I typically wait five years to get a game for less than five bucks on Steam. By the time I get the game, my Windows PC should have exceeded the minimum hardware specs and sometimes the recommended hardware specs to play the game without fuss. I can buy a dozen games for the price of a single brand new title.

    • Waited 5 months on GTA 5, still a disaster just to get it to download the mandatory 6 GB(!) patch to be able to play. A week into it and a re-install I still am not there. What an utter mess. We need more consumer friendly laws against severely broken software that is not easily returned.

    • by orlanz ( 882574 ) on Thursday October 01, 2015 @02:25PM (#50637383)

      Gaming masses are still suckers and have been for quite some years. Just look at all the "best selling" titles each year.

      • Gaming masses are still suckers and have been for quite some years. Just look at all the "best selling" titles each year.

        Well played sir. Indeed, the big sellers are usually recycled trash from previous titles.

    • I don't pre-order games or get them when they're brand new. Any long time gamer knows to wait for the first few patches and player reviews.

      • by Anonymous Brave Guy ( 457657 ) on Thursday October 01, 2015 @05:54PM (#50639631)

        I really don't understand why anyone pre-orders games that are delivered via digital download. A few years ago, it made sense, because maybe you wanted to make sure there was a physical box waiting for you at the game store on launch day. How many games are still bought that way today, though? It's not as if the download server is going to run out of copies.

        Game companies want everyone to pre-order, of course, because it guarantees them income no matter how much of a turkey the game turns out to be. But usually they offer at best some token DLC to go with the pre-ordered version, and often different token DLC for people getting the game in different ways so no-one can have everything, and in any case if that DLC is worth anything it will unbalance the game (which is bad) and if it's not then it's no incentive to pre-order anyway.

        Don't pre-order on-line games, kids. There is no way it ends positively for you, and it gives the game companies every incentive to ship unfinished junk instead of polished products you'll enjoy.

  • by Lead Butthead ( 321013 ) on Thursday October 01, 2015 @01:59PM (#50637165) Journal

    ... like when Sony unilaterally removed features...

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      A guy in the UK got a partial refund when they removed features from his PS3. The law has always said that you are owed one, this just clarifies the situation further.

      • The law has always said that you are owed one, this just clarifies the situation further.

        In particular, the legal changes that came into effect today extend various rights specifically in relation to digital content. Prior to these changes, there were a lot of loopholes and grey areas if you bought something like software or audio-visual content purely on-line. For example, a lot of the laws we had before dated from a time when we were talking about a single physical copy of something.

        It's a shame they don't seem to have added much about EULAs and similar "agreements", though. These already had

        • It's a shame they don't seem to have added much about EULAs and similar "agreements", though.

          To clarify a little, there certainly is an attempt to include this sort of licence agreement within the fairness regime -- the new law refers to "consumer notices", which as defined would almost certainly include most EULAs and similar agreements -- but we still have the flaky legal basis for having EULAs in the first place.

  • by Joe_Dragon ( 2206452 ) on Thursday October 01, 2015 @02:07PM (#50637231)

    Can steam, EA, ubisoft , etc black list you from your full account if you use this on one game?

    • Steam allows refunds within a certain amount of time, no questions asked.

      • by gweihir ( 88907 )

        And if you have played less than 1 hour (or what it two?) Anyways, I recently used this on the latest Batman PC game, which really sucked in all regards, and had the money back shortly afterwards.

    • Legally, no. Actually, yes.

      Steam was recently forced to change their policy of completely black holing accounts that dared to issue a charge back.
      They now prevent future purchases and lock away certain features like the friends list. Various games will work/not work based on how tightly they are integrated with those features. But games you have already purchased and downloaded are still accessible to you. The consoles have more of a death grip, however.

      MS is notorious for nuking accounts that dare to i

      • Do you have any details on Steam mucking with accounts after a charge-back, return, etc?

        I've returned several steam games and never noticed any repercussions. I've even gone so far as to buy a game specifically with intent to return it, as a form of protest (because fuck UPlay) though I didn't disclose that intent, natch.

        Maybe I don't return Steam games often enough to run afoul of their nefarious ways, but I've simply never heard of such a thing from Steam.

        • by gweihir ( 88907 )

          Same here. Last was the full edition of the latest Batman disaster ("Asylum" and "City" were fine), and no issues at all resulted. Maybe they have a detector for people that abuse the system by driving this to extremes.

        • by Cederic ( 9623 )

          "May I please return this game and have a refund" which you're doing leaves Steam in control of the process and is acceptable to them.

          "Hi, is that my credit card company? Please reverse this charge on my card" is a chargeback and results in additional costs to Steam, and also damages their relationship with their card acquirer - if it happens too frequently they could even be refused the ability to take card payments.

          As a consumer both are valid options, but the latter should always be an approach of last r

      • Well, a "charge back" is not the same as a refund request.

        A 'charge back' means calling your Credit Card company and telling them to refuse the payment, cutting out any dialogue with the store you bought goods from. This is entirely different to going to that store and requesting a refund and you can't conflate the two things.

      • Physical shit is cheaper anyway.

        Nope. Not even close.

  • The new versions of Destiny actually removed some game content for those that did not upgrade: []
  • Just how stupid are British officials that they can't see the obvious route is to sue and fine the company directly for false advertising? Really? It's easier to have individuals sue them one at a time, likely for the purchase price of a video game? That's a glorified return policy, not a solution and not enough of a punishment. They have Peter Molyneux over in England. They should be very familiar with the problem solely because of him. Do something real about it!
    • Just how stupid are British officials that they can't see the obvious route is to sue and fine the company directly for false advertising

      Because requiring consumers to sue a company, with all the hassle and legal costs, provides consumers with no effective protection. That is why Britain has consumer protection legislation. It provides an easy route for consumers to get redress.

  • I bought Elite Dangerous early on in its development, and much to my chagrin I witnessed it go through beta to full release with nary an inkling of the content I was actually expecting from the advertisements and discussions on the forums.

    It is categorically one of the worst games I've ever had the misfortune of purchasing. Made even more unpleasant by the exorbitant price tag I paid for early access. It's the biggest reason I've sworn off ever pre-purchasing or pre-ordering any games in the future. It wasn

You must realize that the computer has it in for you. The irrefutable proof of this is that the computer always does what you tell it to do.