Blizzard Responds to French Consumer Group Over Diablo 3 Complaints


We recently reported that the French consumer group UFC-Que Choisir were on Blizzard’s case regarding Diablo 3 connectivity issues in France. The sought a response from Blizzard within 15 days at that time and asked that gamers be awarded compensation of some sort for the problems. The fifteen days are now up and Blizzard has responded to the UFC-Que Choisir.

Blizzard has stated to the consumer group that players knew they needed an online connection to Battle.Net and that it was clearly mentioned on the labeling and Diablo 3 box. Blizzard conceded that they were not prepared for the influx of users at launch but worked hard to add new servers and that connectivity issues had been resolved by 2nd June. Blizzard added they had been listening to players and that there is a 24/7 customer support in place. The UFC-Que Choisir appear to be satisfied with these responses.

According to UFC-Que Choisir’s Edouard Barreiro, they have not yet decided what action, if any, to take due to the main sticking point, the inability for players to resell their game due to the online-only requirement which acts as DRM. In other words, the DRM prevents players from selling the game on if a player can not connect to the game due to technical issues.

Many consider the online-only mode is really there to protect the money making aspect of the game, the RMAH, a topic that Blizzard will probably like to steer well clear of with the UFC-Que Choisir.

Remember, Blizzard’s official line has changed quite a few times. A couple of the reasons being they thought players would be confused that they could not take their single player characters online (yes, apparently this was a big problem in D2) and also to prevent hacks which were rampant in its predecessor. Jay commented about the online only requirement back in August last year and also in May just before release.

We shall probably hear more about this in the coming weeks.

Thanks PCInpact.

Tagged As: , , , | Categories: Legal, Online-Only Diablo 3

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  1. It is amazing how many times Blizzard has called their fans stupid. They said they are too stupid to know the difference between an online only and single player characters (even if they are warned at character creation), too stupid to distribute attribute points without a character guide, too stupid to distribute skill points without a character guide, ect.

    Yes, no doubt Blizzard will put yet another spin on the online only DRM. While I have not seen the French Diablo 3 box, if the box said “high speed internet connection required” I’m sure a lot of fans assumed that the requirement was for the multiplayer aspect of the game. And reasonably so since Diablo 3 was claimed to be a sequel. A lot of people don’t read internet forums and were unaware that Blizzard had decided to kick single players to the curb in favor of cashing in on the folks who had bought stuff for cash from third party sites in Diablo 2.

    Of course their other claim, that online only would mean a cheat free environment, has been proven false.

    • You mean they kicked the single players, majority of whom would just pirate the game, to the curb?

      Oh, good.

      • The majority of single player gamers would pirate the game? That’s a sweeping statement.

        I think the members of our d2 Single Player forum would beg to differ also. I played offline and didn’t pirate the game and I had no intention of doing so with d3 either.

        • Elly – absolutely. Look up the stats.

          I’m sure there are many legitimate respected players here on this forums, but they are just a tiny fraction of all the people who ever played D2. You simply can’t take population of a respected forum as a valid sample to extrapolate on the entire earth’s population.

          Now, of course the legitimate SPers suffering because of the pirates isn’t very fair. But is there any other option? If Blizzard were to lose 40-60% box sales were they to allow offline play? For the game with D3’s budget and publicity, this is a humongous loss.

          • D2 had an offline mode and it sold very well. Point is moot. Provide a compelling experience, and people will pay for it. End of story.

            This strawman will continue despite the horrible flaws in logic, of course. Look! Piracy! Rahhhh! You are a willing accomplice to the idiots in charge of these laws.

          • Sorry, I can’t find any stats that prove the majority of people who play single player games pirate them. All I found when I searched was a single player pirate game.

          • @Elly
            You’re right there are no hard, firm stats…but there are stats.
            It’s well-known that piracy is extremely common to the point of being close to the majority of installed games.
            Straight from a developer’s mouth (who chose to nevertheless not include DRM in his game): http://2dboy.com/2008/11/13/90/

          • well a set of stats you can surely trust, Barin’s posts consisting of nothing but bullshit. trust THAT

          • @Rising

            Well, D2 is also an older game. Back then, piracy wasn’t as rampant. Story is different these days.

            @Elly

            10 sec of wiki..ing gives 2007 stats:
            http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/cri_sof_pir_rat-crime-software-piracy-rate
            Note – this is all software. Videogame piracy is likely higher.

          • Thing is, they are not necessarily “lost sales” because a significant part of the people that pirate the game would not have bought it anyway, either because the game wasn’t worth that much to them, or because they just can’t afford to buy the game. I’d like to see some statistics, but I’m pretty sure piracy is especially rampant in Russia and China, which have a significantly lower per capita income…

        • @AlexanderBarin

          Those crime figures include

          “The categories include operating systems, systems software such as databases and security packages, and applications software such as office automation packages, finance and tax packages, PC computer games and industry-specific applications. IDC excludes routine device drivers and free downloadable utilities, such as screen savers.”

          Also there is no mention that the crime figures for videogame is the majority of the single player community.

    • Wow – your posts always make me smile Wizard – doubly so because of your name.

      Anyhow, it’s ironic that you talk so much about stupidity while clearly missing the whole point of removing stat and skill point allocation. It was simply the illusion of choice – you did it just so or you gimped yourself in some way. That’s not fun. It was brave of Blizzard to do what they did with the skill system as it was never going to be popular before people got to play with it. I first thought it was a horrible idea, but I think it has turned out to be a great decision, and one of the most innovative things about the game.

      INB4 ‘OMG stop kissing Blizzard’s ass!!!’

      • I’ve played enough D3 to know that the “illusion of choice” argument is nonsense. D2 gave us way more choice than D3 does.

        The “stupid consumers” argument is closer to the truth, as we can see by Blizzard’s constant refusal to make elective mode the default.

        But probably even closer to the truth is that Blizz just thought it would be easier to balance if they made all the choices for you.

        • “I’ve played enough D3 to know that the “illusion of choice” argument is nonsense. D2 gave us way more choice than D3 does.”

          Really? How? I’d love to see you justify that claim.

          “The “stupid consumers” argument is closer to the truth, as we can see by Blizzard’s constant refusal to make elective mode the default.

          But probably even closer to the truth is that Blizz just thought it would be easier to balance if they made all the choices for you.”

          There is a difference between “making choices for you” and a tutorial. It’s clear from old blue posts that the idea of not making elective mode the default is to guide people into a choice of skills that lets them deal damage while not repeatedly dying because they’re not using a single movement/defensive skill. I agree that Elective Mode still isn’t visible enough – but they’ve already stated that they’re considering highlighting it when you complete normal difficulty. Whether that’s good enough is matter of opinion, but there will be players who actually benefit from being guided through normal skill selection wise.

    • “Blizzard had decided to kick single players to the curb”

      I dunno, I’m able to play single player just fine.

    • “It is amazing how many times Blizzard has called their fans stupid. They said they are too stupid to know the difference between an online only and single player characters (even if they are warned at character creation), too stupid to distribute attribute points without a character guide, too stupid to distribute skill points without a character guide, ect.”

      I bought Diablo 2 when I was 11, playing single player mode with both an Amazon and a Paladin. I had zero idea that there was an online mode way back then. The moment I hit that Battle.net button, the whole game changed for me. This happened to two of my college buddies, both brothers, and once THEY discovered Battle net they delved into the trade and competitiveness of the game.

      “Yes, no doubt Blizzard will put yet another spin on the online only DRM. While I have not seen the French Diablo 3 box, if the box said “high speed internet connection required” I’m sure a lot of fans assumed that the requirement was for the multiplayer aspect of the game. ”

      If you buy a product without doing the research and are burned by said product, then you have failed as a customer. World of Warcraft and it’s expansions require a “high speed internet connection” as well. How many people do you think buy WoW thinking that it is a single player experience with a tagline like that?

      “And reasonably so since Diablo 3 was claimed to be a sequel. A lot of people don’t read internet forums and were unaware that Blizzard had decided to kick single players to the curb in favor of cashing in on the folks who had bought stuff for cash from third party sites in Diablo 2.”

      Again, customer responsibility. Remember that little phrase for those who assume? That would apply here.

      “Of course their other claim, that online only would mean a cheat free environment, has been proven false.”

      Want to go back to the days of Diablo 2 when botters were spamming IN YOUR OWN GAME, constantly whispering to you, and selling off duped items in large quantities? I’m not going to deny that Diablo 3 hasn’t seen some of these things happen, but so far the only problems have been gold spamming in General and Trade (Which I’ve seen drastically drop since 1.0.3, unsure if related) and botted gold/items.

    • Even if all players knew about the online only feature they would still have the right to ask for an instant refund after all what happened. They didn’t get the game for free, they paid 60+ dollars for it, so offering a stable server was an obligation that Blizzard failed to provide, even though the initial problems were caused by the giant influx of players and were solved, mostly.

      That may not have been enough reason to make all players quit from the game, but the ones that felt impaired by the downtime and lag deserved to have their money back without any questioning by Blizzard, but unfortunately they refused to hand over refunds initially and only changed their mind after the authorities from many countries stepped in to help the costumers.

    • Here’s a thought Grumpy, go spend over 100 million dollars out of your pocket to develop a video game and then tell me how you feel about DRM. I confounds me how people think companies who spend millions & millions of dollars to develop a product are somehow corrupt by doing all that the can to keep that product from being stolen. There are plenty of low budget games with no DRM out there, if you don’t like Blizzard games, please go play one of them.

  2. Consumers have been stealing and copying games for 30 odd years, the music for an odd 20 years and the video industry for the last 5 years.

    First I’ ll examine your PC’s, I PADS and other digital drives, then we’ll talk about consumer rights.

    And to the first poster above: YEP on the box of Diablo 3 is the EXACT same wording to be found as on a WoW box for 7.5 years now …

    And yep the fact Diablo 3 is not found in a working copy on torent sites has everything to do with record PC gaming sales.

    Consumers copy and steal all the time, it is a mark of our species.

    • Thought you were done with this site?

    • Thought you ragequit this site…

      Anyway, time to prove you wrong on one more thing – Music and film industries were battling with customers for way more then what you have written. Remember Cassette and Video Tapes?

      I’ll let you on another interesting fact – those industries aren’t innocent victims – when video tape was the thing, film industry suits were looking for a way to monetise every time you played your rightfully bought tape (for big bucks i might add). After all, if you buy a tape with “Jaws” you can watch it until the tape itself is physically damaged beyond use, and film industry got diddly squat for it!

      Where this is getting to? Well, you seem to be in line with the idea that industries should have as much power as they can get over the customer. I know it’s brand loyality that speaks through you, but consider why games are pirated. Most of the time it’s either because:
      1) The potential customer doesn’t have money for it (which shows that the price is either too high, or there aren’t any other payment alternatives, or simply the guy is poor.)
      2) You can’t get it in the area, shipping it from abroad costs way too much or the service is outright denied in that area (while first two are distribution issues, the third one is prelevant with services like Games for Windows Live – some countries can’t access certain games)
      3) As unlikely as it might sound – potential customer wants to try the game before buying it (and if that’s the case – then why there isn’t a proper demo for the game?)
      4) “Customer” never intended to buy the game, he’s a douche (no need to expand on that)
      5) The company is disrespectful towards their customers, therefore people feel “justified” for pirating it (treating them like a thief, putting on ineffective DRM, trying to milk the buyer – all sorts of things)

      And no doubts i probably didn’t mention a few of big reasons, but that’s aside the point. Not everyone pirates because they’re the scum of the earth. While it’s never justified to steal, it doesn’t justify big companies to treat their customers like dirt. In case of Diablo 3, Blizzard dodged the bullet somewhat, but not for that long. After all, DRM never works, no matter if it’s secu-rom, always online or client based system. You know what is funny? The sales would be even higher if they respected their fanbase. But i guess the estimated income was higher with the inclusion of RMAH… Shame it’s not high enough for them not to be sold off 😆

      • “The sales would be even higher if they respected their fanbase.”

        You don’t know that, and IMO it works in the opposite way. What makes you think that with the DRM present, people who couldn’t afford the game, would go and buy it, if there was no DRM at all? To me it seems like bullshit. If you can’t pirate the game, you either buy it, or don’t, that’s your only options, and if a guy who really wants to play it, is supposed to wait for x months for the crackers to break the game, he will simply go and buy the game.

        About the poor guys: There’s no chance to sell a copy when fellas can download the game outright for free, however if they are unable to, perhaps they’ll save some money and decide to purchase it at a later time.

        Generally I’m not offended, and it doesn’t really matter to me if the game requires online connection or not, as the error 37 is long gone, and that’s in the past for me. As long as it actually helped Blizz in any way to fight the dupes, or whatever there was they were concerned about, I’m actually all for it (sadly we don’t know if it did help).

    • and I notice you’re still recommending your own posts 😆 😆 😆

    • You repeat yourself Thrall, please stop it or find other arguments.
      Thx

    • Of course! This makes screwing your legit consumers perfectly justified. It all makes sense now.

  3. “Jay commented about the online only requirement back in August last year and also in May just before release.”

    and still noone believes you, Mr. Larder

    • Wow – so is calling Jay Wilson fat actually a valid criticism of his ability to make games? I never knew what I was missing….what other gems do you have for us Solomon?

  4. “connectivity issues had been resolved by 2nd June” , is that right? That lag and rubberbanding isnt shared under connectivity issues??? ❓

  5. Its the 21st century…internet HAS to become a normality….rly. Big changes will allways attract suspicions, but in the end we have to evolve.
    Everything will be online sooner or later – D3 just had the ballz to go for it.

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