Lawyer Jason Gibson, representing the plaintiffs in the class action suit against Microsoft over Xbox Live service outages, has spoken to MTV about the motivation behind the lawsuit and why his clients believe it’s a “real issue.”
Gibson said he was first contacted by plaintiff Shannon Smith, who had written to Microsoft about his difficulties connected to Xbox Live. He received no response from the company, but Xbox blogger Larry Hryb, better known as Major Nelson, posted a message acknowledging the problems and claiming corrections were being made. That message was followed up by an apology from Xbox Live General Manager Marc Whitten, who also promised a free game for all Xbox Live subscribers to make up for the inconvenience.
Prior to that apology, however, Smith and his co-plaintiffs Keith Kay and Orlando Perez had already contacted Gibson for help in suing for a partial refund of their $50 annual Xbox Live subscription fee. “When you have one person who is mad and they can’t get a response, and they can’t get their complaints addressed by a company like Microsoft, the only way to get their attention is in numbers,” Gibson said. He also claimed that Microsoft must have known that Xbox Live would not be able to handle the Christmas strain, saying, “If they had not anticipated the sales, then they would not have put out that many units of the Xbox to begin with.”
“They take the money for the subscriptions, but they don’t make sure that the service is going to be there,” he continued. “They kind of put the cart before the horse.” According to Gibson, he has received more than 500 emails regarding the lawsuit, the vast majority of which supported the effort, and more than 50 people have joined in the suit since it was launched. He also said his clients aren’t looking for a windfall with the lawsuit. “What they would like to see is Microsoft fix the problem,” he said. “They’d like to be reimbursed for the money they spent when they haven’t received the service, and hopefully it will make Microsoft do the right thing in the future.”
“These are not guys looking to get rich,” he added. “They are in the late 20s and 30s. They are college-educated. These are not young kids who just turned 18 and (want) to sue for the fun of it. This, to them, is a real issue.”