May 1, 2013

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Sega And Gearbox Hit With Class-Action Suit for Aliens: Colonial Marines

Sega And Gearbox Hit With Class-Action Suit for Aliens: Colonial Marines


The gaming industry isn’t immune when it comes to class-action suits as we’ve already seen when you release a defective console or when you monopolize football games, but now we’re getting into deceiving demos and previews.

In the latest class-action suit, SEGA and Gearbox have now become targets due to the final product of Aliens: Colonial Marines. The lawsuit filed in Northern California claims that the company misled the public with previews of the game that didn’t resemble the final product.

The law firm Edelson LCC is handling the case on behalf of Damion Pierrine. They claim that the trailers and playable demo shown to the public along with the press promised gamers something which SEGA and Gearbox didn’t intend on delivering.

Most gamers know by now that not all trailers or demos should be taken as the final product, but with so many gaming events nowadays it’s rare to see gameplay previews that differ so much from the final product.

The suit also mentioned that the review copies sent to the media was sent with an embargo of the game’s launch date, which as most of us know means that the game probably isn’t going to be reviewed all that well. Edelson hopes the class-action suit will go to help all those who pre-ordered the game.

“Each of the ‘actual gameplay’ demonstrations purported to show consumers exactly what they would be buying: a cutting edge video game with very specific features and qualities,” Edelson’s filing explains. “Unfortunately for their fans, Defendants never told anyone – consumers, industry critics, reviewers, or reporters – that their ‘actual gameplay’ demonstration advertising campaign bore little resemblance to the retail product that would eventually be sold to a large community of unwitting purchasers.”

Speaking to Polygon who reported it yesterday, Edleson went into more detail regarding the case:

“The gaming community had a strong reaction to the release of Aliens: Colonial Marines,” said the firm’s Ben Thomassen. “We think the video game industry is no different than any other that deals with consumers: if companies like Sega and Gearbox promise their customers one thing but deliver something else, then they should be held accountable for that decision.”

Tweets from Gearbox’s Randy Pitchford are cited as evidence of their knowledge that the game didn’t offer the same experience that was previously demonstrated

While advertisers aren’t always held accountable here in the U.S. the UK’s Advertising Standards Agency did hold SEGA accountable for their trailers. The report stated that SEGA Europe admitted to the disparity of the trailers and the final product of the game. While the footage was shot using the in-game engine, the footage didn’t accurately portray the final product of the game.  SEGA must now add a disclaimer to any future airings of the game’s trailer. While that doesn’t help those who pre-ordered the game, it might help this class-action suit.

I have never played Aliens: Colonial Marines outside of the multiplayer modes, so I can’t say whether or not the game was misrepresented all the way until release date. That said, the game was reviewed very poorly and Polygon in particular took time to show the differences between a preview build and the final version.

I’m not sure where this class-action is going to go or whether it’s going to change anything in the industry, but it will be very interesting to follow.

[Source: Polygon]