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Activision Reported To UK Fair Trade Office Over  Black Ops
Activision Reported To UK Fair Trade Office Over Black Ops
January 25, 2011 | By Simon Parkin

January 25, 2011 | By Simon Parkin
More: Console/PC

UK Consumer group Gamers' Voice has followed through on its threat to report Activision to the UK Fair Trade Office claiming that glitches in the PlayStation 3 and PC versions of Call of Duty: Black Ops are in breach of the Sale of Goods Act 1979.

In an open letter to the UK Fair Trade Office, the group writes: "Since its launch, both the PlayStation 3 and PC versions of the game have been reported to be plagued by problems that are claimed to render it almost useless as the piece of entertainment the game purports to be."

The group focuses its attention on the online multiplayer component of the game, citing "sudden disconnections from online multiplayer game sessions", the "inability to join servers that play host to multiplayer game sessions" and "freezing of PlayStation 3 console, forcing the user to reset it" among some of the issues that PS3 and PC players of the game are encountering.

In the letter the group likens the situation to a consumer buying a fridge-freezer "only to find that the freezer component doesn’t work."

The move comes a month after Activision failed to respond to an open letter from the group asking for an explanation for how these problems came about and seeking information on how Activision planned "to recompense [its] customer base."

Now the issue has been escalated to the UK Office of Fair Trading, Gamers' Voice is claiming that "Activision UK Ltd [is] in breach of the Sale of Goods Act 1979 (as amended) which states that when a consumer buys goods they must be: as described; of a satisfactory quality; and fit for any purpose made known at the time of sale to the seller."

The office has the power to impose a severe financial penalties if the claim is upheld.

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Daniel Kinkaid
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Well, in the highly unlikely event they won, wouldn't it be nice to have legal recourse for all the games that are fundamentally broken on release.

And as I write this, I STILL can't play the PC version of Fallout 3 without crashing in the same exact spots...

Jed Hubic
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Well that would pretty much screw up the entire PC games industry...

Tiago Costa
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Well I still remember a time where people actually tested games before they went gold... seems that time is behind us now...

I dont remember having to patch my megadrive and PS1 games on the day I bought them because they were broken (Im looking at you MAG & GT5).

While I dont see this actually having any legs to walk, it would be nice for companies to actually care about the prodcut they produce instead of worrying about the date they deliver it.

Or if people would actually use their wallets to influence these companies they would not buy these games at all, since nobody does that, we have what we deserve...

jaime kuroiwa
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As a former tester -- though not on this game -- I feel obligated to respond. Like any food we consume, it will contain an acceptable amount of bugs. That being said, I think the report is exaggerated, and the metaphor is unfair.

A more reasonable metaphor would be that the consumer bought a freezer, but it didn't chill ice as quickly as they wanted.

Brett Lawlor
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Showstopper bugs are unacceptable in a released product at any time, especially on a homogeneous platform like PS3. If QA/Testing allows critical issues to make it to release, then there's a real problem with the developer/publisher that needs to be addressed.

Nathan Verbois
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As a former tester, we can only report the bugs we find, we cannot fix them.

Jason Chen
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working in the game industry, the most of frequent words I heard from studio engineers are....

"As Design"...

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As someone in the industry the most frequent words I hear are "Have you planned a sequel?" and "Patch"

Jeffrey Crenshaw
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Yeah, testing still happens pretty thoroughly in this industry, I've had the pleasure of only working with really good testers. Most major bugs that ship are known to the dev team before shipping. The issue is that game schedules just don't support the time it takes to _fix_ bugs. Every project seems like a crunch fest toward the end, like a car trying to stop at a red light from 80 mph without hitting the breaks until they're at the intersection. We need to make the production cycle more like a bell curve than an absolute ramp, with a cooldown period at the end where there is time to fix more bugs (no, beta doesn't count as cool down because of the ubiquitous crunch involved). This cooldown would probably not require all hands on deck, so part of the team could be going into prepro on the next project, an overlap which could also help ease the tension of having too many employees post-launch with not enough to do.