Here at MMO Fallout we take strides to keep you up to date on ongoing litigation, because generally the news only covers the start and the end, but not the years in between or the actual arguments being made. The case of Bassett V. Electronic Arts involves the termination of online services and accusations of misleading advertising. While it wouldn’t normally make it to MMO Fallout, I see the case being poorly referenced enough in MMO discussions to warrant some clarification.
All of the information is directly sourced from the court docket, which I have access to.
The basics of the case are as such: The plaintiff, Justin T. Bassett (on behalf of himself and others) is suing Electronic Arts claiming that the company misled customers about its online services, particularly that they eventually shut down in contradiction with online play still being advertised on the box. Electronic Arts attempted to bring the case into arbitration by citing its EULA, which the plaintiff is challenging as unenforceable because the arbitration clause was not present when he bought the game and was instead added later on as part of a newly modified agreement.
The case has been going for nearly two years, during which the two parties have done a lot of orders, objections, responses to objections, and responses to responses. The plaintiff wants his case to carry out in court, while EA is attempting to bring it to arbitration.
That’s it. I see this case brought up quite a bit in conversation about services shutting down, eventually someone will say “well EA got sued for it” and cite this case. Since very few websites cover lawsuits past their initiation, and since you need access to the court records and some knowledge of legalese, not to mention money, to look it up yourself, it can be very difficult to find coverage later than 2013 when it all started. Because of this lack of coverage, people have no problem citing the lawsuit as though EA has already lost.
So here is where the lawsuit stands presently: The court needs to decide whether to push the case towards arbitration or allow it to go to trial. As far as the original complaints about misleading advertising and services rendered, those aren’t even being addressed yet. If the case goes to arbitration, odds are that’s the last we’ll hear about it. If it goes to trial, it could be a long time before it comes to a conclusion.
There you have it.
(Source: Bassett V. Electronic Arts Inc Court Dockets)