18 April 2013
In response to ongoing problems with the latest release of Electronic Art’s (EA) SimCity CHOICE has published a guide advising consumers on how they can get a refund on the game.
SimCity’s always-on feature means gamers need to be connected to the internet in order to play. This appears to be a misguided Digital Rights Management (DRM) measure to fight piracy, although EA have denied this is the reason for the feature.
“The always-on DRM has created multiple problems since its release - servers have crashed and fans have been kicked out of the game. These problems still plague consumers today, albeit less severely,” says Head of Campaigns Matt Levey.
CHOICE argues that a game that regularly ceases gameplay and denies users access to their saved data due to the internet falling out or to server issues is not of an ‘acceptable quality’ nor is it ‘fit for purpose’.
“To add salt in the wound, the need for internet connection is not clearly communicated at the point of sale. A visit to both simcity.com and harveynorman.com.au confirm this,” says Mr Levey.
CHOICE believes these problems with SimCity constitute 'major failures' and therefore consumers have a right to demand a refund. The problems are considered 'major' because had a user known about them beforehand, it is unlikely that they would have ever bought the game.
If a consumer purchased SimCity and is still having trouble playing the game, then they have a right to a refund under Australian Consumer Law.
CHOICE tips for SimCity refund:
- Get your refund directly from the retailer. Even if they are online; you do not need to contact EA or any other third party.
- Provide proof of purchase and the game itself, with or without the original packaging.
- Remember proof of purchase does not necessarily mean a receipt. For example a bank statement is sufficient.
- If you have trouble then ask to speak to the store's manager or owner.
- If words like ‘consumer guarantee’, ‘acceptable quality’, ‘fit for purpose’ and 'major failure' don’t sway them, try out ‘ACCC’ and ‘Department of Fair Trading’ and see them come around.
- Make a complaint to the ACCC or your Department of Fair Trading (unique for each state) if the retailer refuses to refund the game.