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Diablo III always-online requirement under fire by German consumer advocacy group

By: Muhammad Qasim Hassan

  |   July 28th, 2012   |  
News, Uncategorized
BlizzCon 2011

There seems to be no end to the woes of Blizzard as the company finds itself under fire once again, this time for not specifying the always-online requirement for Diablo III on the packaging.

Following the launch of the highly-anticipated third instalment in the popular Diablo franchise, the forums were swarmed with grumbling fans that were not too happy about the game requiring a constant internet connection for play. They complained, they whined, they cussed the developer, but in the end they accepted it.

A German consumer advocacy group, however, is going one step further and threatening a legal action against Blizzard for misleading consumers by not explicitly stating on the packaging that a constant internet connection is required to play the dungeon crawler.

According to the German PC Gamer website, the Federation of Consumer Organisations has given an ultimatum to the America-based studio to clearly state the always-connected requirement for Diablo III on the packaging, else face legal action.

The group has given Blizzard a deadline of July 27 to respond to their demand, after which it plans on taking the issue to court.

The current packaging of Diablo III only specifies that an internet connection is necessary to register with Blizzard’s Battle.net services, while stating nothing about the game being unplayable without a continuous access to internet.

Before taking a stance against the absence of always-online requirement for Diablo III on the packaging, the Federation of Consumer Organisations had targeted Blizzard for not handling the game’s launch properly. The servers had gotten overloaded, which had resulted in many purchasers of the game unable to experience even the single-player mode.

Ever since releasing Diablo III on May 15, 2012, Blizzard has been struggling to find a break. The action role-playing game (RPG) had been in development for years and with each passing year, the anxiety of fans continued to grow. Therefore, when the game was finally released, a record number of sales were made. While the response to the game was nothing short of outstanding and there was hardly any doubt about it being arguably the best game of the year, the underestimated demand led to a series of problems for Blizzard.

The studio had not expected so many players in such a short time and therefore the capacity of Battle.net servers was not duly adjusted. Players immediately begin to complain about not being able to login to play and those who did manage to get into the game faced latency issues.

The rocky launch of Diablo III in South Korea brought even greater challenges as the country’s fair trade commission raided Blizzard’s South Korean office and forced the studio into announcing a refund policy for disgruntled consumers who experienced login and other issues after purchasing the game.

Blizzard is working round the clock to ensure a smooth experience for Diablo III players and even though the bumps are frequent, it seems to be doing a pretty good job of dealing with the issues to the best of its ability.