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Lawsuit alleges Aliens: Colonial Marines false advertising

Aliens: Colonial Marines is under scrutiny again, this time in a lawsuit alleging that Sega and Gearbox misled customers by claiming "actual gameplay demonstrations" in demos that weren't representative of the final product.

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Aliens: Colonial Marines was roundly panned upon release, but many who pre-ordered or bought on the first day might not have realized that. A new lawsuit alleges that since Sega and Gearbox showed demos claiming they were "actual gameplay" and reviews were embargoed until release date, early adopters had no way to know of the game's problems.

Polygon reports that the suit, filed in the Northern District of California court by the law firm Edelson LLC on behalf of plaintiff Damion Perrine, claims that the demos shown at trade shows were not representative of the finished game. The suit seeks damages for anyone who purchased Colonial Marines on or before its release date.

On its side, the suit has the general backlash over the game and various reviews regarding it not matching what was shown. But more damaging may be a tweet from Gearbox head Randy Pitchford, from a week after the launch, which the suit claims acknowledges the problems. When asked about the disparities, Pitchford wrote: "That is understood and fair and we are looking at that. Lots of info to parse, lots of stake holders to respect."

Edelson sums up its case in the claim. "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," the claim states. "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."

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From The Chatty

  • reply
    May 1, 2013 7:30 AM

    Steve Watts posted a new article, Lawsuit alleges Aliens: Colonial Marines false advertising.

    Aliens: Colonial Marines is under scrutiny again, this time in a lawsuit alleging that Sega and Gearbox misled customers by claiming "actual gameplay demonstrations" in demos that weren't representative of the final product.

    • reply
      May 1, 2013 7:47 AM

      lol

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      May 1, 2013 7:47 AM

      you've got to realllllllly give a shit to sue over a game.

      my limit ends at complaining on the internet.

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        May 1, 2013 8:03 AM

        My McDonald's big mac is not as advertised! We need a class action lawsuit!

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          May 1, 2013 8:06 AM

          my grandfather used to send letters to companys with pictures showing their food products didnt look anything like how they were advertised. He didnt really give a shit that they didnt look the same, he just wanted all the coupons for free shit they would send him.

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          May 1, 2013 9:57 AM

          You know you can order a double cheeseburger plain, add lettuce, mac sauce and cut out that needless middle bun, rite? And save moneys....

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            May 1, 2013 11:20 AM

            Some McDonald's now charge to add mac sauce. Pretty lame.

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            May 1, 2013 12:54 PM

            psst bro.

            you could also just take out the middle piece of bread and not have to fuck around 'splaining to jose your custom burger order. i'm just sayin.

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              May 1, 2013 12:55 PM

              oh how much do you save? is it like a half price?

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            May 1, 2013 4:51 PM

            Sweet McDonalds hacks!!!

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        May 1, 2013 9:51 AM

        Yah I'll second that. Twitter can be quite powerful in it's own right without needing to sue. At the end of the day, its $50, and a video game. The average consumer is not harmed or had their quality of life lowered.

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        May 1, 2013 11:58 AM

        Yeah I've never been pissed enough at a game purchase to even consider something like that.

        Also the few games I've picked up but were really unhappy at (due to being horribly censored in my version, or simply wouldn't run well enough on my machine even though it met minimum spec) I simply had to email Steam and they gave a full refund

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      May 1, 2013 8:08 AM

      There have been a ton of movies with really great trailers that are still shit movies. Now.. they do mislead when they act as if that is what the final product will be like.. but.. isnt it still just a trailer. My point is.. has someone with too much time and money on their hands tried to sue George Lucas?

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        May 1, 2013 8:24 AM

        But that is different than what this guy is suing for. He's suing specifically about the preorder. Company says: Give us your money now because this is how the game will look. <insert images from demo footage with captions saying 'actual game play'> Then the company gives you a product that is nothing like, at least substantially unlike, the sample game play they used to convince you to give them money early.

        The difference is that especially with the review embargo there was no opportunity for the consumer to know the company was going to fail on delivery of the stated quality of the game. That's different than going to see a movie when you have the option to wait until critics review the movie even if it's after the opening weekend, or even a game in this case when the reviews come out a week or a month later because they company already had his money and he couldn't cancel the order.

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          May 1, 2013 8:36 AM

          excellently explained sir

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          May 1, 2013 9:53 AM

          Indeed, i guess you don't pre-order a movie trailer.

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          May 1, 2013 11:49 AM

          How does a review embargo work anyway? What happens if someone breaks the embargo? Is it part of the agreement in playing the game ahead of time? And why would anyone agree to that?

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            May 1, 2013 11:53 AM

            Because they won't give you the game if you don't agree.

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            May 1, 2013 4:34 PM

            If you break embargo you'll likely face a fine as stated in the contract, and can be on the receiving end of any damages as a result.

            So let's say someone came out ahead of time and said this game isn't what it's made out to be, and even though the advertising campaign used by Gear Box was questionable, if people didn't buy the game because of what was said the speaker could very likely be liable for damages.

            It also forms a bad repore. If you're a games media site like Shacknews, good luck on getting an advanced copy of, into the screening of, or a pass for the next event when you're known to fold on contractual obligations.

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              May 1, 2013 5:04 PM

              rapport, not repore. Normally I wouldn't say anything but holy shit you got it so epically wrong I just have to chime in :D

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          May 1, 2013 4:28 PM

          The only problem I have here is that at no point was preording the game a requirement. If all it takes to part him from his money is a sizzle real, maybe he should rethink his standards.

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      May 1, 2013 8:32 AM

      its not the same as movie trailers. This is an instant that I can definitely get behind. The demos shown where NOT even pre-alpha's. They were demos created specifically for the purposes of proof of concept that didn't equal the same content that was in the game.

      In other words, that's like showing a demo for Killzone 3 with all the advanced tech and lighting, and whatnot, then on release you get Alien CM. Which was the opposite of what was shown.

      Even Bioshock Infinite showed a proof of concept demo (even playable) but almost none of that made into the final game. However, it was the same graphics, and essentially the same gameplay.

      This abomination was just plain garbage. Plus a lawyer would not have taken the case, if he/she didn't think there was a high possibility of winning.

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      May 1, 2013 8:47 AM

      Good, I hope they are punished, Let this be a lesson to all devs with pre-rendered game play and promoting pre-order bonuses when all along your game is a lie

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      May 1, 2013 9:16 AM

      If they hadn't put the caption stating that the footage was from actual game play I wouldn't think this sue had much merit. But, since they did state that, it directly implied that the final game would be at least close to that representation. Epic failure. And, yeah, that tweet only helps the lawsuit.

    • reply
      May 1, 2013 9:25 AM

      Still pissed that Batman Begins was not a love movie!!

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        May 1, 2013 10:05 AM

        it was, Katie Holmes just proved to be FAIL personified.

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      May 1, 2013 9:58 AM

      Eh, while it seems trivial to do this there are plenty of products we buy that we can return if it doesn't work out or isn't as advertised. Only difference I guess is that games are digital and your overpriced vacuum cleaner is a real item.

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        May 1, 2013 3:47 PM

        The publishers want the rule to be "Caveat Emptor... PREORDER NOW!!!"

        It's dumb because it does little to protect the consumer from failed promises, which are very common, since less than 25% of games get a Metacritic score over 80. This industry desperately needs a watchdog, if not some sort of punishment for massively blown expectations like Aliens: Colonial Marines.

        How about we outlaw preorders entirely? The game isn't really "finalized" until it's submitted to cert, but the preorder push starts many months before release date, sometimes with preorder bonuses staged right when the game is announced an entire 9 months before release.

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      May 1, 2013 11:50 AM

      That lawyer could potentially make a lot of money. Everyone else, here's a free copy of DNF, sorry for your lols.

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      May 1, 2013 11:58 AM

      That's retarded.

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      May 1, 2013 12:41 PM

      inb4 apologists and journalists screaming "ENTITLED GAMERS". Mmm, dat corporate teat must taste so good.

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      May 1, 2013 7:11 PM

      This would set an ugly precedent if it got to trial, much less actually succeeded for the plaintiffs. Video game development is far from a well defined process (see XCOM shooter as the most recent example).

      I'd wager that the majority of games change significantly both technically (not just the requisite evolution needed to build the game but what and how things are implemented) and design wise. Making game developers and publishers responsible for ensuring that every piece of media released during a game's marketing campaign match 1-1 with the finished product would stifle the development process and hurt the ability to build awareness around a game.

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        May 2, 2013 10:15 AM

        All the developers have to do is put a disclaimer explaining that the footage shown is a target reprensentation which may change due to unforeseeable circumstances during the developement of the game. It will just force them to be truthful.

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      May 5, 2013 6:41 AM

      This suit has merit, and I hope the plaintiff wins. It's bad enough you cannot return a shit game (I'm looking at you, Rogue Warrior), although I understand why you can't.

      And this is exactly why I NEVER preorder games. I always wait until I can read several reviews until I buy a game. The preorder bonuses are usually nonsense anyway, and certainly not enough to chance buying a steaming pile of a game.