From The Archives: Can We Stop Talking About Lawsuits?

Objection!

(Editor’s Note: This article was originally written in 2010 and subsequently shelved into the MMO Fallout archives. I don’t remember exactly why I cancelled it, but it is likely because I wasn’t sure if the nonspecific publisher that I mention threatening to sue me was serious, but I wasn’t going to find out by poking them with a stick. Enjoy)

Why are gamers so obsessed with the thought of customers suing companies, companies suing companies or companies suing customers? The last time I can think of a lawsuit being applicable would be when Sony released Trials of Obi-Wan right alongside the major changes to Galaxies that made a good amount of its content useless or so incompatible that it was removed. That was misleading to users, and possibly would have resulted in legitimate grounds for a lawsuit if Sony hadn’t quickly stepped up to offer refunds. But Star Wars Galaxies was a long time ago, what we need to focus on is the present, or at least the past couple of years.

I’ve seen an increase in the word “lawsuit” over at the capital city of trolls, occasionally referred to as the MMORPG.com forums. Every day there is inevitably a thread about how some developer is going to be, or should be, sued over an update, lack of an update, or just general dissatisfaction with the title in question. Cryptic should be sued for making Champions Online free to play, Turbine should be sued for making Lord of the Rings free to play, and Bill Roper should be sued for apparent crimes against humanity, depending on who you ask.

My favorite point of lunacy is when the fanboys of one game try to “incite” their developer of choice to sue another for making a “clone.” I’ve seen plenty of threads claiming a developer should be sued by Blizzard for making a WoW clone (exclamation mark for quests), while today I came upon a thread stating that Perpetuum Online should be sued for being “Eve Online but on the ground.” Even your good friend Omali has been threatened with lawsuits because someone believed enough that I was on a “crusade of misinformation,” and “had the goal of damaging their reputation,” among my readers by, in their words, reporting on news that put the company in a bad light. They were kind enough to mention me in a press release as an unaccomplished nobody, however. I take my attention where I can get it.

Is this really what you want? I’m all for justice and protection of creative rights, but this goes far beyond protection and into the gaming community’s dark void of hatred and vindictive blood lust. It isn’t enough for some people to just play the games they like and ignore those that they don’t, there is a very vocal minority that spends a lot of time actively campaigning against anything that isn’t in their liking. I suppose if there was some moral or ethical factor, this rant would even exist. There isn’t, so it does.

Stop talking about lawsuits. It muddles the water and makes legitimate cases more difficult to notice.

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