The Federation of Consumer Organizations is demanding that Blizzard more clearly label Diablo 3's always-on internet requirement.
The launch of Diablo 3 in May was a rough one, thanks primarily to the strain put on the game servers by the somehow unanticipated demand for the thing. The game requires a persistent connection to the internet in order to play, but lag, connection difficulties and other such issues plagued the game at release and for some time thereafter. It was hardly surprising, although Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime recently claimed that the demand for the game, despite it being one of the most anticipated games of all time, did in fact catch the studio by surprise, but his promise that Blizzard is working hard to support and improve the game isn't good enough for Germany's Federation of Consumer Organizations.
The Google translation is rough, but German gaming site PC Games says that the Federation is demanding that Blizzard change the Diablo 3 packaging to more clearly reflect the fact that the game requires an always-on internet connection. "It is not clear enough to communicate that it is with the Battle.net registry and the entry of the unique serial number is not done," it says. "For the player must start every game with his personal account and login to be permanently connected to the platform. No Battle.net, Diablo 3 no - a similar situation so as Battlefield 3 and Origin, which provided half a year after heated debate."
Consumers are not being adequately warned that the game requires more than the one-time activation we've all grown accustomed to, in other words, and that violates "consumer service" regulations that all such information must be provided to consumers before they buy. The FCO has given Blizzard a final deadline of July 27 to respond to its complaint. "Should we not convince another opinion also be we provide contract action is expected to be in response to outstanding issues in court," it said, which I'm guessing means that if Blizzard doesn't respond by the end of the week, it'll be time to wake up the lawyers.
It might sound silly to those of us who are in the know about all this videogame business, but the further we get away from the launch (and the surrounding controversy), the more likely it becomes that less focused gamers who aren't aware of the potentially onerous connection requirement will pick it up on a whim and have it blow up in their face, which is just the sort of thing these regulations are made to protect against. And if it does go to court, I wouldn't be too quick to bet against the FCO: In June, South Korea's Fair Trade Commission ordered Blizzard to issue full refunds to gamers who had experienced connectivity problems.