Between hacked accounts and Error 37 messages, the server-side problems with Blizzard’s ‘Diablo III’ aren’t going away thanks to its always-online requirement.
Now Korean internet cafe owners are taking Blizzard to court.
Blizzard is wildly popular in Korea. Diablo III has, unsurprisingly – after Star Craft and Star Craft 2, been another big hit there.
But that isn’t stopping Korean cafe owner from launching a class action lawsuit against Blizzard over its many Diablo III server-side problems, all of which stem from the always-online requirement and the addition of a Real Money Auction House (RMAH.)
“We are planning a class action lawsuit against Blizzard Korea, as users and PC room owners are suffering from constant server malfunctions and server check-ups for Diablo 3 while the company avoids responsibility,” Kim Chan-kuen, head of Internet PC Culture Association (IPCA) told The Korea Times.”
“We have something like 700 to 800 members in our cafe. We have received numerous complaints since early June from PC room owners and users, and decided to represent them.”
“Korea accounts for a large percentage of Blizzard’s total revenue, and considering how much domestic users contribute to the firm’s profit, its consumer services are severely disappointing.”
William Usher explains just what’s going on here:
“Here’s the real kicker, though: Instead of having PC cafe runners in Korea buy individual copies of Diablo III, Blizzard provided them with free copies of the game (although it’s not clarified if they were boxed or digital, as there is no operating loss from digital copies) and in turn the cafe owners must pay a monthly royalty fee for each copy of the game that’s installed on a different cafe computer. If I didn’t know any better, that almost sounds like a legal racketeering bracket.”
Regardless, Diablo III is hugely popular in South Korea but as the IPCA representative states, gamers in the Asia server territory range aren’t able to play the game, meaning that the cafe owners are losing money because people can’t play the game, while at the same time the cafe owners have to pay Blizzard royalty fees on a game that’s not quite turning the profit they thought it would.
The actual cue of the legal action came from Blizzard Korea’s offices procrastination for any sort of fix to the problem because the Blizzard Korea office claims they have to wait on word from the North American Blizzard offices before taking certain actions. Well, the IPCA were not going to pay Blizzard royalties on a product that didn’t work or wasn’t being fixed fast enough by the company. In other words, the mass loss of potential profits was the only reason a lawsuit is getting underway.