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Suit Filed Over 'Halo 3 Incompatibility' 92

Posted by Zonk
from the not-the-best-legal-move dept.
Via Kotaku, a story on the CourtHouseNews site is discussing a suit filed by a CA man against Microsoft over Halo 3. "Microsoft's highly touted "Halo 3" video game, made exclusively for its Xbox 360, causes the Xbox to freeze or crash, ruining the game, according to a federal class-action complaint ... Lead plaintiff Randy Nunez says he paid $59.99 for his game. He wants class certification and damages." Given the lack of widespread note of such crashes, it's going to be hard to prove this in court I think.
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Suit Filed Over 'Halo 3 Incompatibility'

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  • Right (Score:2, Informative)

    by gcnaddict (841664)
    You've got to be fucking kidding me.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      "It's not our shitty Halo 3 game that is to blame but rather our utterly garbage 360 hardware"

      Case dismissed...

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by halcyon1234 (834388)

        "It's not our shitty Halo 3 game that is to blame but rather our utterly garbage 360 hardware"

        Case dismissed...

        My friend, you are missing the entirely brilliant stratagem being played out here. Dude sues Microsoft for, like, $100 because Halo crashes. He gets them to admit, on the stand, that it wasn't Halo. It was their *ahem* "utterly garbage 360 hardware". Case is dismissed.

        And then the Dude goes right back to the filing office, and sues Microsoft for $100,000,000 because the XBox 360 is utter

        • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward
          Part of what makes the 360 hardware "utterly garbage" is that no one reads the instructions on ventilation for both the console and the power brick. Sure there are other problems, but frequent freezing is probably heat, which is probably his "fault" (somewhat unrealistic expectations on the part of Microsoft not withstanding). If you think a jury can't understand "too hot" and identify an antisocial douchebag, well I think they probably deserve a little more credit.
        • you know, what's really going on is probably that scratch a "halo" pardon my pun into the disc while it's operating on its side or whatever that major problem was. That causes the game to read bad data and it isn't handled properly so it crashes instead of giving you a read error and safe quit. So both the game system and the game are defective.
    • must be drunk.

      How... how does "You've got to be fucking kidding me." get modded "informative"
  • by Stormwatch (703920) <rodrigogirao AT hotmail DOT com> on Thursday November 22, 2007 @04:49PM (#21448445) Homepage

    Microsoft's highly touted "Halo 3" video game, made exclusively for its Xbox 360, causes the Xbox to freeze or crash, ruining the game, according to a federal class-action complaint.
    It causes "the" Xbox to crash... what Xbox? All Xbox 360s? Only the plaintiff's Xbox 360? Or even the original Xbox, rather than the 360? I can't understand this news.
    • by Goaway (82658) on Thursday November 22, 2007 @06:33PM (#21449235) Homepage

      I can't understand this news.
      I guess the stereotype of nerds being highly intelligent simply is not true any more.
    • by Blakey Rat (99501)
      Well, I can eliminate two of those.

      It doesn't cause my Xbox 360 to crash, so it can't be option A.

      If it's accidentally put in an old-school Xbox, all you see is a static screen that reads something like "this disk requires an Xbox 360 to play" so it's not option C.

      That leaves option B: "Only the plaintiff's Xbox 360" which leaves an interesting question, can you have a class action lawsuit with a 'class' of only one person?
      • by MarkAyen (726688)
        My Xbox has locked up frequently playing Two Worlds and Oblivion and occasionally playing a number of other games (including Bioshock). It has never locked up playing Halo 3. On my system, the game is solid as a rock.

        That leaves option B: "Only the plaintiff's Xbox 360" which leaves an interesting question, can you have a class action lawsuit with a 'class' of only one person?

        IANAL, but it's my understanding that a class-action lawsuit requires large numbers of affeced people, so no.

    • The first article linked to clears this up.

      Halo 3 does not function with the Xbox 360, and to the contrary, attempted use of Halo 3 consistently causes the Xbox 360 to "crash," "freeze" or "lock up" while the game is being played."
  • by Torodung (31985) on Thursday November 22, 2007 @04:52PM (#21448463) Journal
    If that's really a repeating issue on his box, and folks aren't reporting similar experiences because you "can't return video games," then establishing a class is the way to make sure anyone with problems can jump on the bandwagon. It lowers the barrier to file suit, in the same way that corporations have had that barrier lowered, vis-a-vis bulk subpoena provisions in the DMCA.

    The result of lowering the barrier to file is always that more people file.

    This could turn grave for MS and Bungie very quickly, even if the problem is strictly Xbox360 hardware. If Halo 3 taxes that hardware to it's limits, and the CPU/GPU has cooling problems, it would cause exactly what the plaintiff describes.

    Class action is every service provider's worst nightmare. It will be interesting to see if anything comes of it.

    --
    Toro
    • by Khuffie (818093) on Thursday November 22, 2007 @05:33PM (#21448737) Homepage
      Or it could amount to zilch, because this is a non-issue. There hasn't been a single reported incident, so gaining class action status is impossible. This is either an issue with the guys hardware (fixable under warranty if he hasn't voided it) or an issue with the game disc itself (replacable at point of purchase for the same item within 7-30 days depending on the store or through the game's manufacturer.)
    • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

      by Osty (16825)

      If that's really a repeating issue on his box, and folks aren't reporting similar experiences because you "can't return video games," then establishing a class is the way to make sure anyone with problems can jump on the bandwagon. It lowers the barrier to file suit, in the same way that corporations have had that barrier lowered, vis-a-vis bulk subpoena provisions in the DMCA.

      This guy is just an idiot with a console that hasn't completely died yet. Halo 3 isn't causing his console to crash. His almost-b

      • Disclaimer: I am an American who hates the current litigious society.

        Correction:

        Leave it to an American to file a lawsuit where a simple phone call would suffice.

    • by LingNoi (1066278) on Thursday November 22, 2007 @05:45PM (#21448851)

      This could turn grave for MS and Bungie very quickly,
      and I hope it serves as a warning to other companies that release halfass games [wikipedia.org].

      I don't agree that Halo 3 is a halfass game at all, but it's time for game publishers and investors to wake up and realise you can't ship a buggy POS.

      It doesn't happen with any other product that you can buy. If the car industry sold cars that had 3 out of the 4 seats missing and it only went half the speed advertised they would get legally hit so badly. Just because software is an abstract concept to grasp rather then a physical product doesn't mean you can rip the customer off on quality.
      • by p0tat03 (985078)

        The car is a utilitarian tool, a better analogy is if you bought a DVD movie, but the disc has some problem that won't let it play past the first 15 minutes. But then again, if that happened to you you'd go back and get a refund - and any reputable game shop will take back a product that is widely known to be defective. This isn't to mention that consumer law in most jurisdictions provide a time limit to return *all* products, regardless of store policy.

        This is worth a refund, not a lawsuit.

        • by LingNoi (1066278)
          You get refunds!?! I haven't been able to get a refund in the UK since 2002! Swapping game x for game y is not a refund btw.

          I don't like your analogy. In your example the DVD is fine but the physical media is broken. It would make more sense if your DVD played fine but half the content was missing and sometimes the audio would disappear because they didn't edit it in.

          Game's are more complicated in that they'll release a program that they know doesn't work.

          Look at the example I listed. Soldner was the worse
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by p0tat03 (985078)

            Who says the physical media is broken? Perhaps I bought a DVD where, due to a bug in the menu code, I can't navigate past chapter 10. In that case it's clearly a product worthy of recall, but if I sued the movie studio I'd be rightfully laughed out of court. Buying this broken DVD caused me no harm, and as long as I got a refund on it that's the end of that - any further action would just be needless antagonism, greed, or both.

            Did they release a program that they know doesn't work? Have you looked into th

            • by LingNoi (1066278)

              Your Soldner example perfectly illustrates my point. If I bought a copy of Gigli on DVD, I cannot seriously demand a return on account of it being a bad movie. It promised me a compelling storyline, but none existed! Shock! Gasp! Not playing correctly is one thing, but being a bad movie is not a crime, nor is being a bad game.

              I guess what I am talking about is a broken game where as you're talking about a bad game.

              You can't promise on the back of the box 14 playable vehicles knowing full well you only have

      • by Blakey Rat (99501)
        Yeah, but aim the anger at someone who deserves it. Xbox titles are remarkably stable; it's PC games where 3 out of 5 titles on the shelf are buggy beyond belief. Just a couple days ago in another thread I was talking about what a buggy POS Battlefield: 2142 is... THAT game deserves a class-action suit. Halo 3 is pretty good.
    • by RogueyWon (735973) *
      I doubt very much this is a widespread issue. When a console game releases with major crash-bugs, it tends to be picked up in reviews or even make the news (by contrast with PC games, where it is often treated as par for the course). Even minor bugs tend to report in screaming all over the forums. I've seen absolutely nothing of the sort on any of the forums I would expect to with regard to Halo 3. If a game *this* big had a serious crash bug, it would have been on the TV news.

      Halo 3 isn't a great game (alt
  • Microsoft's highly touted "Halo 3" video game, made exclusively for its Xbox 360, causes the Xbox to freeze or crash

    I'm impressed he could even get it to load on an Xbox. As the article clearly says, it is designed for the Xbox _360_.

    Doesn't anybody even read the system requirements before going to court?

    • Read the complaint (Score:4, Informative)

      by faloi (738831) on Thursday November 22, 2007 @05:07PM (#21448585)
      It's pretty explicit in the complaint that the failing system is a Xbox 360. Maybe the people at Kotaku figured everybody reading the article would know that the guy was trying it on a 360, so they didn't explicitly state it in their summary.
      • by darkonc (47285)
        Well, everybody but Minwee, anyways ... I think it's fair to say that most people figured it out.

        Actually, if I had moderation points today, I would have moderated Minwee's comment 'funny', not 'interesting'.

      • It seems like a lot of companies are calling the 360 just the XBox now, I've seen 3 ads (2 for Black Friday, one just for the week) where they are apparently selling an XBox Arcade pack, with an XBox and a number of XBox Live Arcade titles. Of course that's actually a 360, but it seems like companies have decided that the 360 is the XBox now or something.
  • Not a Xbox 1 (Score:4, Informative)

    by 4D6963 (933028) on Thursday November 22, 2007 @05:06PM (#21448575)

    I know it sounds ambiguous but upon reading the complaint [courthousenews.com] it turns out it is indeed about having the game not run on a Xbox 360, and not a Xbox "1".

  • That would be a very difficult case to win, considering that he would have to overcome the lack of warranty clause that is undoubtedly in Microsoft's EULA on the game.
    • He would also need to prove that there wasn't a pre-existing defect in his x-box 360. Such as the overheating issue that microsoft has extended the warranty. I had problems running Halo 3 as well so I went online to microsoft support and learned how to clear my cache. Since then it has been running without a hitch. Maybe look for xbox support instead of launching suit.
    • most games actually have a limited warranty. Warranty that the game will operate, or be replaced. you usually have to send it back to the publisher to get a replacement. Since there hasn't been an outcry regarding this being a major problem between the game and the console, It's entirely possible he got a bum disc, which is causing read errors which causes the crashes. and it makes me wonder if he's tried to exercise the warranty on the physical disc?
    • by vux984 (928602)
      I have rarely if ever seen an EULA for console games. Does Halo 3 even present one?

      Even if it did have one, most of the terms on eula's haven't been tested in court.

      Finally, its one thing to say there are a million PCs out there and each one is different, has different hardware, different software, different settings, and its unreasonable that we warrant that it work on all of them. Its something else entirely to release a game exclusively for the xbox 360 that won't run reliably on an xbox 360. An xbox 360
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Planesdragon (210349)
        I have rarely if ever seen an EULA for console games. Does Halo 3 even present one?

        I think an EULA on a video game would be even worse than an EULA on software. On the latter, you need to make a copy of it for the thing to work at all. For a video game, you never make a copy at all, and require the physical copy the publisher gave you.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by sumdumass (711423)
      Well, you know that the game is warranted to work with the Xbox 360. Both by the way the console games get published and by the way the box says it is for the Xbox 360. You couldn't place a warranty somewhere else to avoid a fitness for representations they made in the advertising and marking on the box.

      It would be extremely absurd to expect someone to get away with selling something as gasoline and informing you after your purchase that is won't work in engines that run on gas. Especially if there is a pic
  • How does this stuff even make the news? Is this some rule in the media that if somebody files a class action suit for anything no matter what it is or how ludicrous it makes the papers?
    • by Malevolyn (776946)
      Actually, you're absolutely right. That's exactly what the people filing these lawsuits want. They know it's ridiculous and they're hoping a giant amount of press will back them up.

      Well, either that or they talk to trees. You never know these days...
    • by LilGuy (150110)
      I don't think you understand the relationship in play here. The more ridiculous a lawsuit the more press coverage it gets.
    • Obviously you never read Kotaku. I like the site and read it daily, but they do post a lot of trivial nonsense on it. It's less a gaming news site, and more a true to form blog than anything else. Which is fine really, but while the bad gamer tattoos and game mascot Jackolanterns of late are amusing, the worst items are probably the authors' daily thoughts posting about the minutia of their exciting lives as game bloggers. I haven't yet been able to read through one of those posts completely as they seem to
  • Seriously.. this guy is nothing more than an attention whore. How the hell does he not know about the 3yr warranty on his console? if he's even had a single support call his console would have been replaced. Sheesh.

    This made me annoyed enough to actually post something!
    • The warranty is only 1 year (but 3 years if the console needs repair due to the "Red Ring of Death"). My Xbox started having problems very similar described in the complaint. After about 2 days their online support has yet to respond, but I really doubt that they will fix my Xbox 360 for free.
  • by tabby (592506) on Thursday November 22, 2007 @05:46PM (#21448863) Homepage
    This just in. Stupid arrogant litigation-happy people play games too.
  • Well on the other hand ..Mac Do got sued cause their coffee was hot and burned an old lady. WE live in a world where soon we will have warning stickers on knifes "warning touching the blade may cut you"
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by MSFanBoi2 (930319)
      What they don't tell you about that lawsuit is that McDonalds ended up suing the town or state (not sure which one) that required the coffee to be at 140 degrees which was hotter than the McDonalds standard temperatures for serving coffee. McDonalds ended up getting 80% of the money back they lost to the woman in the suit.
      • by DM9290 (797337)
        Do you have a link for that? Isn't this is something McDonalds would have raised as a defense against the original suit. This sounds fishy. i read they appealed and had the damages reduced by something around 80%. But I've never heard that McDonalds had any justification for the temperature of its coffee. Specifically I read that it served it 20 degrees hotter than other coffee vendors in the area and that it had received something like 700 prior complaints of burns from the coffee.

    • by the_B0fh (208483)
      for someone who posts with a link to the c law guild, you're pretty ignorant about what happened, aren't you? I know, I know, it's claw guild. Still, a simple google would have given you the facts.
    • Have you read the facts on that case?

      Stella Awards [stellaawards.com]

      That McDonalds had settled many times before. They didn't settle with her because they were expecting her to die of old age first. No plaintiff, no case.
    • I personally like the chainsaw manual that reads, "Do not attempt to stop chain with hands or genitals."
      • by the_B0fh (208483)
        this actually happened (afaik, no, I didn't check snope, yadda yadda). I was in alt.tasteless about 10+ years ago, when the ER nurse/friend posted that story. Pretty cringe inducing, lemme tell you.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 22, 2007 @06:07PM (#21449047)
    The case is more compelling than a traditional "it doesn't work" case because it's the same company handling the hardware and the software--thus it is a defect in MS systems. The software is covered by consumer protection laws, regardless of the EULA (and the hardware may or not still be). So, if MS has a knowledge of errors in 1% of the cases, then they'll have to fix it/pay for it. Regardless of knowledge of errors, a court is going to look favorably on the plaintiff because it's like a Ford car dealer selling you brand new spinning rims, from Ford, that don't fit on your wheels as advertised and refusing to take them back. And they ARE saying "tough luck," because a car dealer will at least offer to see what caused the new part to fail, visually verify it, or charge a small restocking fee.

    As to people talking about EULAs, they don't matter in this case. In general, EULAs are scare tactics that simply up the cost of arguing a case--they may or may not be valid in court. In this particular case, you cannot sell someone something that doesn't work--call it fraud, breach of contract, whatever. And you can't sign away that right, at least not in CA. The point of this case is probably to get access to MS testing records during discovery, which will prove whether the issue is known or not. Otherwise there's no way to verify problems beyond the one machine without insane costs. Alternatively, they could be seeking a process for return of the game (similar to a restocking fee). MS should consider that anyway, with a key deactivation, to undercut resells and provide relief for customers who have problems.

    • Oh how I wish I had mod points right now, you nailed it on the head. If MS sells even one copy of Halo 3 that doesn't work on their system then they have to be willing to take it back. Third Party games don't count quite the same way because both sides can claim it was the other side that caused the problem but in this case both sides are MS so no matter what's actually causing the problem (Halo 3 or the 360) MS is responsible, they have no one to blame.

      Honestly I hope they lose this one. It would be a good
      • by Blakey Rat (99501)
        They don't have to "take it back" they have to exchange it for a working one. And they do that, both for games (through the retailer) and for consoles (through their warranty program-- extended so this guy filing the suit is covered!)

        This suit is a total non-issue. If his Halo 3 disk didn't work, he should have taken it back to where he bought it and exchanged it for another disk. If that disk didn't work, he should have called Microsoft and gotten a warranty repair. You can't ignore the existing options fo
    • by evilsunz (1195427)
      This isn't a compelling case at all. It is another class action holdup that will get we purchasers of the product $1 each and the lawfirm of Bonnett, Fairbourn, Friedman and Balint, P.C. a fat pile of fees. Notably, their Complaint contains citations to outside sources to support their class status claim, but cites no evidence whatever for their assertions of "widespread" problems with Halo3 other than vague allusions to unspecified blogs, and forums. Other than scratches on the Limited Edition discs, th
  • Shitty article (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Krakhan (784021) on Thursday November 22, 2007 @06:27PM (#21449195)

    The article states: "Bungie LLC, which makes Halo, was acquired by Microsoft in May 1991."

    Completely false, the company was founded in May 1991, but only acquired by Microsoft in 2000 for the original Halo. I'd take anything this article says with a complete grain of salt.

  • Is this guy going to be pissed if his next game is Assassins creed.
  • "[...] causes the Xbox to freeze or crash, ruining the game"

    Yeah, it totally crashed my Xbox - made it utterly unplayable...

    I then tried it in my Xbox 360 and it worked a treat

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