Gamer Files Class Action Against Sega over Aliens: Colonial Marines

May 1, 2013 -

Damion Perrine has filed a lawsuit against Sega related to Aliens: Colonial Marines, which he claims Sega represented falsely in its marketing as a far superior game than was delivered to consumers. He claims Sega engaged in "a classic bait-and-switch" with the game and that it also engaged in false advertising, breach of warranties, fraud in the inducement, negligent misrepresentation and committed consumer law violations. He is seeking to have the lawsuit certified as a class action and has sued on behalf of everyone in the United States who bought the game on or before Feb. 12 this year.

In his lawsuit Perrine claims that Sega promised consumers that they would receive a product with specific qualities and features, but then delivered something else entirely - to the tune of ill-gotten sales. He says that Sega and Gearbox falsely claimed that their marketing campaign showed "actual gameplay" but the footage shown in ads in no way represented the retail product released by Sega on various platforms.

"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," the complaint states.

Perrine claims that Sega and Gearbox used the "actual gameplay" demos at E3 and other trade shows up until its release in February this year.

"Defendants never suggested - either through the 'actual gameplay' demonstrations themselves, interviews, or other media releases - that qualities and features of 'Aliens: Colonial Marines' shown in these 'actual gameplay' demonstrations were not representative of (and, in fact, were far superior to) the planned retail version of Aliens: Colonial Marines that would be sold to customers," the complaint states.

"As such, these 'actual gameplay' demonstrations - which were defendants' primary (if not only) method of advertising 'Aliens: Colonial Marines' - served as public, pre-release guarantees: put your money down, and you'll receive at least what you saw in the demos - which showcased the game's graphics engine, level design, and artificial intelligence, among other specific qualities and features."

But the game released on Feb. 12 was poorly received and "immediately drew stunning and specific comparisons between the final product and the 'actual gameplay' demonstrations that were shown by defendants," Perrine says in the complaint.

Perrine is being represented by lawyer Sean Reis of Santa Margarita, California.

Source: Courthouse News

 


Comments

Re: Gamer Files Class Action Against Sega over Aliens: ...

I'm kind of surprised how selective gamers can be when it comes to wanting to raise a ruckus about a particular game.  One of the things people complained about ALIENS: Colonial Marines, IIRC, was that it didn't have any of the scenes that were shown in the demo.

You know what other game didn't have any scenes shown in the demo, or have any of the features that were promised?  BioShock Infinite.  I didn't see any of the scenes in that game that were previewed, like Elizabeth attempting to revive the dead horse, for instance.  Or the scene with her and Booker fighting Songbird on a bridge.  There was also a scene that showed Booker being able to catch an artillery shell and fling in back at the cannon that had fired it at him (probably demonstrating the Return to Sender Vigor).

None of those scenes were in there, yet BioShock Infinite got a pass.  However, by the logic being used towards A:CM, I ought to be screaming bloody murder and threatening to sue Irrational for not including any of the scenes that were demo'ed.

From that perspective, that behavior just feels hypocritical to me.

Re: Gamer Files Class Action Against Sega over Aliens: ...

I have to agree with this. Supreme Commander was possibly the worst game I've ever played in regards to advertised features and expectations set. We went fro massive armies on massive maps to complex ai, down to something resembling a late 90s generic RTS.

Re: Gamer Files Class Action Against Sega over Aliens: ...

The original Starcraft did this, as well. The demo missions were actually a prequel to the full version, and were even mentioned in the loading screen text before the demo. Blizzard made the missions available as a mini-campaign called Precursor long after the fact. I believe Warcraft III did this as well, with the demo campaign actually set between two missions of the Orc campaign and explaining why Thrall left Lordaeron with only orcs and arrived in Durotar the next mission with trolls.

It's not that uncommon of a thing, plenty of demos either have early drafts of the storyline that are retconned by the full version, or follow side stories, or tell a minor part of the story in more detail than the full game.


There's a lot of stuff wrong with A:CM, but most of it comes down to it being an awful game. Which is 100% caveat emptor, by 1 AM release day everybody on the internet knew the game was a train wreck. There are no warranties on video games, and the implied warranty of merchantability is satisfied if the product is what it says it is, and no matter how bad of a game it is, A:CM is still technically a video game.

Gamestop can be persuaded to cancel preorders after release - they're more willing to do so if you apply it to a different preorder. This is what I did the afternoon A:CM came out, I switched my preorder over to a game I had more confidence in and would probably still buy if it wasn't great.

Re: Gamer Files Class Action Against Sega over Aliens: ...

A:CM is not that bad of a game...at least not after it was patched.  The only complaint I have about it now is that's it's way too difficult, even on Soldier level.  That and the boss fight with you in the Power Loader was kind of screwed-up, as it took me multiple tries to win it.  I know you're supposed to hit the Raven xeno until it goes unconscious, then you're supposed to grab it three times until you finally kill it.  But the game never makes it clear when it's sufficiently stunned enough for you to do this.  So winning seems like just a matter of luck.

Other than that, and the game's checkpoint system which has you replaying long passages of the game you've been through before, and the death screen you can't seem to get around, it's fairly decent.  I've played MUCH worse games.

Re: Gamer Files Class Action Against Sega over Aliens: ...

Agreed wholeheartedly. Personally IMO people who buy a game just because "ZOMG TEH GRAFFIX ARE AWESUM!" just seeing it in a demo really shouldn't be allowed to sue anyone if/when the final product changes. Demos are supposed to be just that, a sampling of the game, not the guaranteed final product.

Also case in point is Borderlands. Remember the furor that arouse when Gearbox suddenly decided to leave the realistic art style in favor of using something that's rarely used in FPS games? Granted most people forgave them when they played the game and found it was a great game. I'd wager this is more akin to him being pissed the game wasn't very good and happened to look different, figuring he could get a refund of sorts if he were to open a lawsuit against them.

Re: Gamer Files Class Action Against Sega over Aliens: ...

Your right, demos are demos.  Also Comstock was shown as a young guy in the demos.  I think they hadn't fleshed out that character by that point.  This is why demos typically have the caveat that actual gameplay may vary, or is a work in progress.  I guess this dude doesn't respect that language. 

Re: Gamer Files Class Action Against Sega over Aliens: ...

I kind of felt The Doom 3 BFG edition was a lie worthy of a class action.  It specified multiplayer on the back, however, that was just actually for the Doom 1 and 2, not Doom 3.  Also, if you installed the game disc to the hard drive (Xbox 360), Doom 1 and 2 couldn't be played from it.  You had to uninstall the whole BFG edition and load from the disc to play them.  I ended up selling it because of these issues.

Still, it seems like if this lawsuit succeeds it could be seriously damaging to the industry.  Personally I like to wait till the Metacritic reviews roll in.  Sure they aren't perfect, but it sure beats marketing hype or biased Game Informer reviews.

Re: Gamer Files Class Action Against Sega over Aliens: ...

What's more Doom 1 and 2 weren't optimized very well.  Gameplay was jittery and the graphics weren't upscaled like they can be on  a port like ZDoom. 

However, considering the minor graphical tweaks made on Doom 3, along of course with the ability to hold your flashlight and your gun at the same time, I'd say it was worth a re-buy.

 
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