Escapist Podcast: 091: Sega & Gearbox False Advertisement Suit

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091: Sega & Gearbox False Advertisement Suit

This week, the Escapist crew weighs in on the class action lawsuit against Gearbox and Sega for false advertisement in Aliens Colonial Marines. We also discuss etiquette for Twitter and some laughable interview tips.

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Yeay! Janelle! Having you back for the podcat has just made my day.

As far as the annoying twitter follower thing goes. I assume I am an annoying twitter follower and podcat posters. I understand that the people I am following looking for attention from don't know me from Adam, and we aren't personal friends. So I let those dictate what I will say to them and then assume I crossed the line no matter what. Then when they do respond, I count it as a win. If they don't respond, I chalk it up to them being busy and me being annoying but in no way taking it personal.

Also I am so vain, I felt guilty during the whole first part of the podcat even though I purposely don't chime in on every tweet, and really try to stretch out when I do chime in.

I got rid of my twitter account half a year ago. In the two years I had the account I tweeted "famous" people 2 or 3 times, and even those felt inappropriate.

Over Facebook I do reply to posts occasionally, but that's a bit less personal (or at least it seems so to me).

Saying your eyes are hazel is not exactly descriptive, hazel is the catch-all N/A eye color. If your eyes are not brown, green, or blue, your eyes are hazel.

Example - my grandmother and I both have hazel eyes, but hers are a light brown mixed with gray or really pale blue, and mine are brown and green.

The watch thing being very notable is perfectly understandable to me considering many interviews start with a handshake. Not everyone wears a watch on their "shaking" arm but enough do that it definitely stands out.

The Twitter thing is kind of hard to tackle. Twitter is a totally open medium with nearly no restrictions. If you use Twitter, particularly if you are a public person who puts their handle out there, you are basically opening up yourself up to pretty much any sort of contact via the service. It's like accepting the EULA before you play a new game. You make not like every one of the tenets outlined in the EULA, but you presumably want to play the game enough that you'll agree to them anyways. All that said, of course, there definitely is some level of responsiblity on behalf of the Twitter follower and that really does come down to social IQ. Thing is, as above, if you're a Twitter user, you're basically agreeing to be in public contact with people who have varying levels of social IQ. You know there are sharks circling in the pool below you; whether you jump in or not isn't the fault of the sharks.

As far as false advertising goes, I think it really is more about clarity than any desire for retribution and, as stated in the podcast, the easiest way to currently fight back is to just stop blindly buying pre-ordering games and/or feeling you have to buy on day 1. This comes up a lot in debates over piracy as well. Complaints about games not being as good as advertised. Complaints about games being buggy or just down right not working Day 1. Complaints about options menus not being as full featured as desired. Etc. Just wait a few days or a week after launch and all of your questions will be answered. Now, I'm not saying that you should never pre-order or buy Day 1, I'm just saying that gamers need to man (and woman) up, and just accept that they are taking a risk when you do so. You know how launches go. You know how titles don't always match up to what the early reviews say. You know early bugs are common, especially on certain platforms. With all of that knowledge, and don't pretend that you don't have it, why is it the developers/publishers fault when you go out and pre-order/buy Day 1 then find yourself disappointed?

Does Janelle take perky pills, and if so, where can I get some?

Btw, I could barely hear Josh. It seems that every week, whoever sits in the front left seat can barely be heard.

Grey Carter tweets way to much. I had to unfollow him and rely on Gavin to filter it and re-tweet only the good ones.

AkaDad:
Does Janelle take perky pills, and if so, where can I get some?

Btw, I could barely hear Josh. It seems that every week, whoever sits in the front left seat can barely be heard.

Our levels could certainly be better, but in fairness, Josh is very soft spoken. Especially compared to loudmouths like me and Janelle.

Holla escapados, first time write to you...

In regards of your discussion of the issue a game and its first hour being really good, and is a "demo". Lets say, at 1:01 it turns shitty , bad ui, bad textures, bad level planing.

When you, the consumer, goes and says "that clearly its false advertisement. and this things would apply, right?" I want may money back -and they wouldn't!

And the reasoning is the 1st hour is part of the game, so the game isn't broken, you enjoy it , not all the way but that happens everywhere, when you're doing something, like playing a videogame (or dancing),its very unlikely you will like it all the way (or all the songs).

It seemed you guys want to bring demos (from the grave) to a mainstream audience, and I'm for it!+free games, +choice, to woune matters the most the players,not the gamejornalists(nothing against you, its my pov).

I would like, if you can, to contradict me.
I Challenge you "the forum".

The icecream thing is a case of life semi-imitating art: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0818411/

Which gets worse, when you find out its kinda based on real world icecream Wars from Glasgow: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glasgow_Ice_Cream_Wars

Yep, we Brits are even more serious about icecream based conflict than you guys apparently.

crap now I feel I should apologize to susan because I asked her what breed her dog was.
oh and if you do read this susan sorry

also on the subject of youth unemployment often times employers don't want to hire inexperienced workers and so it's hard for my generation to break into the job market because you have no experience in whatever field your applying to so they wont hire you because they dont want to spend time and money training you soooooo it's a catch 22 situation. and yes because we cant even get in the door you cant practice our interview skills so we make mistakes that are all our own.

you guys rock... that is all

That first hour gate Janelle talked about sounds like a really good idea. I hope it gets implemented in games soon.

:D Hope you all have a great Star Wars day!
image

Almack:
crap now I feel I should apologize to susan because I asked her what breed her dog was.
oh and if you do read this susan sorry

:/ It's probably okay. She did say that you could ask about her dog.

:) But it's good that you care about crossing lines. Well done, but don't be too hard on yourself.

So, I would sign up for pubclub, but I can't because I already did about two years ago....

Also.... The USA Today article... Are you POSITIVE it wasn't a spoof?

Susan Arendt:

AkaDad:
Does Janelle take perky pills, and if so, where can I get some?

Btw, I could barely hear Josh. It seems that every week, whoever sits in the front left seat can barely be heard.

Our levels could certainly be better, but in fairness, Josh is very soft spoken. Especially compared to loudmouths like me and Janelle.

Hey, you got her name right!

I think "loudmouth" is too negative. Let's go with boisterous.

Golden Fish:
Holla escapados, first time write to you...

In regards of your discussion of the issue a game and its first hour being really good, and is a "demo". Lets say, at 1:01 it turns shitty , bad ui, bad textures, bad level planing.

When you, the consumer, goes and says "that clearly its false advertisement. and this things would apply, right?" I want may money back -and they wouldn't!

And the reasoning is the 1st hour is part of the game, so the game isn't broken, you enjoy it , not all the way but that happens everywhere, when you're doing something, like playing a videogame (or dancing),its very unlikely you will like it all the way (or all the songs).

It seemed you guys want to bring demos (from the grave) to a mainstream audience, and I'm for it!+free games, +choice, to woune matters the most the players,not the gamejornalists(nothing against you, its my pov).

I would like, if you can, to contradict me.
I Challenge you "the forum".

Actually, what they were talking about weren't "normal" demos.

It was more like this one part of the game (marked by time, or a specific location) were you have to chose between; A. Keep on playing, and give up the ability to turn in the game for a refund,

Or B. Stop playing, and maybe take the game back for a refund.
That said, more demos would be nice.

As for the whole; "Can't they just make the game very kickass until the player hits the gate?", well as the Podcasters said, that will probably end up with another lawsuit, that may actually win. Maybe.

It still appears The Escapist purposefully trying to mislead the nature of the backlash to the ending of Mass Effect 3.
Ignoring even basic writing basics that the ending has absolutely no narrative coherence to the rest of the previous 120 hours .. THERE was false advertise on the end of both BioWare and EA. They both clearly stated multiple times during the development that all of your choices would matter at the end, (there are people who will argue that the whole of ME3 is the "ending"..) but the most key of all, that there would be no A B C ending. But that just what we got! Red - Blue - Green; and only if your "score" was high enough to get all 3 options, some people only got two, or perhaps only one ending choice.

While there are always the set of people who wanted blue Shepard babies for the ending, most people were willing and ready to make the ultimate Shepard sacrifice to end the Reaper war... just not in the manner of a magic space child/god in the final 3 minutes of the game.

Edit: Job Interview / Parents. Is The Escapist not aware of the 'helicopter parent' syndrome issue? Its parents who are so afraid of their child failing, they are not letting their child fail to learn. So All thru school (middle/high/college) the parent will make every major decision.

Fun to listen to as always, but Susan had my hopes up for a puppy. :(

You know, being part/knowing people in the 16-20 years of age, [the interview thing] makes much sense. I see people everyday using cellphones in the class, even when the teacher scolds at them. I also see many teens still relying on their parents on lots of stuff even when they are in their 3rd/4th year of high school.

With regards to the whole Twitter thing - although this is coming from someone who didn't Tweet all that often until recently - I like to think I'm reasonably good at not annoying "famous" people on that. I tend to only reply to them if they're asking a question or perhaps just making a general statement.

To use a recent example (provided she doesn't mind), The Escapist's own Ashley Esqueda tweeted something about the band Them Crooked Vultures. Being a fan as well I said something about it in response and we had a short fun conversation between two fans of the same thing.

However, there has also been plenty more times where I've seen what is basically a conversation between two (or more, at times) people, so I've stayed out of it because butting in and going "THIS IS MY THING!" just seems like it would be irritating, unless it's helpful.

I don't mind the off tangent rant from Susan because that's what I like about this podcast, the hosts has their personalities.

The audio in this episode is really bad though, I don't mind it if it's all low, but everyone's audio levels were ok expect for Josh, so I can't turn up the volume either. Please make sure your volumes are more even.

As for the lawsuits, they'll probably lose, but at least this raises the awareness of this kind of practices (at least for games) so that they won't pre-order so many crappy games. Just like voting EA as the worst company for 2 years in a row will give them some bad publicity.

A lawsuit...Just what a ::cough:: "broke" company like SEGA needs.

MorganL4:
Also.... The USA Today article... Are you POSITIVE it wasn't a spoof?

100% positive! But don't take my word for it. Here is the link so you can check it out ;)

Okoi:
Yeay! Janelle! Having you back for the podcat has just made my day.

Yay! Well, your comment just made my day, so now we are even :D

I have in fact seen someone text during their interview. They sat in their chair, slouched down and trying to hide their cell under the table. They also had listed on the resume under skills, 'destroying n00bs'. They also repeatedly used gaming terms and examples to answer questions and I later had to act as a translator for the HR rep. Their resume was dropped into the shredder.

As a note, I work for a bank. While certain gaming related things may be appropriate for certain jobs, a bank job is not one.

I don't Twitter much, but if I do bother any of you please tell me.

Wow.... protip? get a bussiness twitter and a family /friends twitter.... seriously you gusy sounded so snob today.

Almack:
crap now I feel I should apologize to susan because I asked her what breed her dog was.
oh and if you do read this susan sorry

also on the subject of youth unemployment often times employers don't want to hire inexperienced workers and so it's hard for my generation to break into the job market because you have no experience in whatever field your applying to so they wont hire you because they dont want to spend time and money training you soooooo it's a catch 22 situation. and yes because we cant even get in the door you cant practice our interview skills so we make mistakes that are all our own.

Don't be silly, I don't mind that at all! Very few people have ever crossed the line with me personally on twitter, and I've said something to those who have. :)

The entire podcast all i could hear was someone breathing loudly into the mic. Sorry, just couldn't not mention it, it drove me a little insane. =P
As for the pre-order fiasco with Aliens Colonial Marines, i'm going the old fashioned route with this. If you bought a ticket to see a movie, and you didn't like the plot, tough cookies. The theatre shouldn't have to repay you, the director shouldn't have to repay you. Same as if you didn't like a book. The author isn't at fault for your subjective opinion regardless of what advertisements led you to believe. Ads are not reviews.
Anyone who spends money on something they haven't seen for themselves simply because an advertisement told them it would be good deserves to have their money taken from them.

Drauger:
Wow.... protip? get a bussiness twitter and a family /friends twitter.... seriously you gusy sounded so snob today.

Try and word your comments less insultingly like for example what you said could have been,

"One thing you guys could try is having personal Twitter accounts for friends and family, and buisness accounts for profesional things."

That way makes it sound like a helpful suggestion rather than an insult.

When did they start having podcasts with a camera? I have not seen any podcasts for a while.

StriderShinryu:
The Twitter thing is kind of hard to tackle. Twitter is a totally open medium with nearly no restrictions. If you use Twitter, particularly if you are a public person who puts their handle out there, you are basically opening up yourself up to pretty much any sort of contact via the service...Thing is, as above, if you're a Twitter user, you're basically agreeing to be in public contact with people who have varying levels of social IQ. You know there are sharks circling in the pool below you; whether you jump in or not isn't the fault of the sharks

I completely agree with you in that if you publicly put yourself out there, regardless of who you are, you should expect for others to see it and respond. Every one on twitter is a public person. Heck, it is what social media is for, right? ;) I unlocked my private twitter into a public account back in 2008 when I was just a student specifically because I wanted to find new people with like interests through conversation. I'm one of those people who see tweepeoples as my friends and unless people tweet back at me, I am just a crazy person talking to myself. Lol.

But at the same time, we are all still people, no matter where we connect with each other and I think that is ultimately the point that all to often gets lost sometimes. As more and more of our overall lives and interactions move over to social media, hard to tackle conversations like how we should aspire to treat other need to follow us there so that we may all socially mature in the new landscape together... even if they are awkward to openly discuss and work through at first. I think that is what we tried to do here. We get to work these social details out with people in person fairly easily, but the lack of a venue to do so on social media just leads to unaddressed bad behavior that can sometimes spiral out of control. And while people with tens of thousands of followers have a more concentrated view of this, it effects everyone. Just read a thread of random youtube comments. The internet is growing up, but people still use anonymity as an excuse to be wildly inappropriate and down right mean to others. Many times it's as simple as forgetting that there is another human being on the other end because we tweet so fast we forget to think. Without instant social feedback like we would get in person, interactions online take a little extra thought than most of us give it unless we are constantly aware of the need to stop ourselves and think first. To be honest, I still tweet some really dumb things because I forget to take the extra second to think before I tweet. Sometimes I don't even realize it until a response embarrasses me. Haha. True story.

Drauger:
Wow.... protip? get a bussiness twitter and a family /friends twitter.... seriously you gusy sounded so snob today.

Speaking for myself, while I completely understand how it may have come off that way, that was definitely not the intention. As I tried to explain above, it was meant to be a casual conversation on when inappropriate fringe behavior in person is still socially inappropriate online and not general complaining about normal behavior. My twitter is my personal one and has no affiliation with my employer or business, in so far as work is a major part of my life and thus, my twitter ;) I would think that goes for most people.

The whole lawsuit thing is probably going to fail but I hope it will bring attention to publishers and developers, as well as consumers, that having such a negative difference between demo and product is not okay, and maybe things can start to change.

I'm part of the demographic that interview article was aimed at and I just.......wow...really? There are people in my situation that need to be told that? Dressing for the interview is tough, everything I've found on the subject suggests neutral to be best, let the interviewer project what they want to see. That being said I have a few unique things I wear so I'm not just another blonde in a black suit, namely a very cool but formal watch and a very small dainty ear cuff. It's just enough to stand out.

If you don't mind my asking do you have any advice for how to deal with the constant rejection from job hunting while under/unemployed?

On false advertising and games.

Firstly, even if some practices are standard to the industry, it doesn't make them OK... It shows that the industry relies on deception to sell their products (see video at 49:40).

Secondly, the slippery slope argument (see video at 51:15) is not fully applicable here, 'cause the point is not if you like a feature or not (gameplay, story, sound, art), but rather if there was a false statement about that a feature. On A:CM the statement was that some features (smart AI, well done animations and ambiance) were going to be in the final game, which ultimately were not. Want to change the game? Fine, but do not let the consumer believe that major element was stripped out on development.

The important features in a game

Which feature should be deemed important? Well, it depends. What is a videogame but an interactive software design to cause an effect in the player (deliver an experience, challenge, a story). Does the lack of that feature make it so that there is no way to cause that effect expected? If so, it is a major feature. Take A:CM. It supposed to be challenging, to have a dense atmosphere. Bad programming destroyed those elements, essentials to the experience. It's like announcing a word processor software that doesn't let you save into files the work done...

However, let it be noted that if you don't like how the story ended, too bad, 'cause fondness is entirely subjective. The experience was delivered... You just didn't like it.

About the legal aspects of the suit

It's a grey area... One thing is to say that your product is the best, that a book has the "best story ever" even if the product is not all that great; this is acceptable. Another is to demonstrate one thing, and deliver another. 'A vacuum that can suck water, but it doesn't really...' kind of ordeal.

You need to prove five things to have a case on false advertisement:

  1. A false statement of fact has been made about the advertiser's own or another person's goods, services, or commercial activity;
  2. The statement either deceives or has the potential to deceive a substantial portion of its targeted audience;
  3. The deception is also likely to affect the purchasing decisions of its audience;
  4. The advertising involves goods or services in interstate commerce; and
  5. The deception has either resulted in or is likely to result in injury to the plaintiff.

From those items, the weakest link is the number (3). However, IMO, there is no need for the plaintiff to prove that the deception is the sole cause of the purchase, but rather if it has affected the decision to purchase the game in any way. It doesn't matter if one of the reasons to buy the game was the IP (in divergence to what they said at 58:40).

The main questions to be awnsered are:

  • Does the preview constitutes proof that they implicitly advertised one product, which doesn't correspond to the final product?(item 1)
  • Have you known that the game was badly programmed, in contrast to what was shown (it looked well programmed at the previews), would you have bought the game? (item 3)

In my opinion, false advertising in the game industry is a subject that must be better analyzed.

Concerning the dichotomy selling product v. providing service

(see video at 57:40)

The industry doesn't "act" like they are providing a service (with some exceptions like MMO, or always online DRM). The law states that software, videogames included, are intellectual property (more like invention than books and movies), and the buyer of a game is purchasing a license to reproduce that software in their computers and consoles. Due its nature, being like inventions, you do not buy the code, 'cause the code can be easily copied and transmitted.

Nevertheless, with some MMO and always on DRM games (not to mention in-game purchase), there is also a service being provided: the game data hosting, to which access is need to play the game or access a feature.

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