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Direct2Drive "announces" "Double Civilization and Scenario Pack"

Discussion in 'Civ5 - General Discussions' started by salaminizer, Jul 17, 2010.

  1. Commander Bello

    Commander Bello Say No 2 Net Validations

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    I humbly disagree.

    A product is assumed to run "as advertised".
    Unless the distributor could prove that for instance you have taken part in the discussions here (so that you would have had the chance to learn about the Steam-binding), not pointing out that a third party service was needed seems to make the whole transaction void.
    At least it would be left to the interpretation of the judge whether signing on to such third party services (with all the discusssed implications) may impose a barrier the customer does not want to cross.

    It seems to be similar to advertising a car model without mentioning that it runs on natural gas, which in many areas is not as easy to get as normal gas.
     
  2. Shurdus

    Shurdus Am I Napoleon?

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    Where I disagree with you is that you claim that steam is part of the product, or, that the game requiring steam is a part of the product in itself, so that not knowing that is a fault in the product all by itself.

    I tend to disagree with that vision. I do agree D2D should make it clear that civ5 requires steam, let there be no misunderstanding there. However I do think that the game requiring steam is not an issue that makes the product in itself flawed. If that were the case, then consumers can get a refund without any problem. I am tempted to think however that the game requiring steam is an issue that is part of the licencing of the product, which is yet another deal altogether. The vendor has nothing to do with the licencing agreement, and holding the vendor responsible for that is actually very iffy, up to the point where I would doubt the chances for success.

    While I certainly hope you are right about the end result, I am very very sure that the reasoning that backs up your conclusion is incorrect.
     
  3. Hafnia

    Hafnia Chieftain

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    This reasoning is only correct if Steam is jugded to be an actual obstacle to you playing the game, as opposed to a self-imposed obstacle. Since you are free to download, install, and validate your game on Steam, there is no obstacle here. Also, by buying the game on a direct download site, you have kind of already hinted that you have an internet connection capable of performing the online validation.
     
  4. Shurdus

    Shurdus Am I Napoleon?

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    You two -Hafnia and Commander Bello - err in your reasoning in so far that the use of steam is part of the licence agreement. It is not a term in the agreement between the consumer in the vendor. There are two agreements here. One of them is the agreement between consumer and vendor where you buy the game. The other one is the licence agreement between you and the publisher. Saying that the buying agreement is void because of the terms of the licence agreement is bold, and I doubt the validity of that statement.

    If it were a car like in Bello's example, I would agree. However, steam is not a part of civ5 in so far that the fact that civ5 requires steam is not a flaw of the game. The game is fully functioning software. The law does not readely provide solutions for situations like these, so that if you actually want a refund, you need to move both heaven and earth in court in order to get it. I doubt that it can be done. If it can be done, it will require some serious legal acrobatics.
     
  5. Commander Bello

    Commander Bello Say No 2 Net Validations

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    Edit: included this quote after Shurdus' response as above
    We've heard over and over that Civ5 is based on Steamworks, and that there isn't any chance ever to get a version without Steam.
    Therefore, Steam is part of the product and the necessity to agree to Steam's TOS is inherent part of the product. There is no chance to avoid this.
    Not, if the customer did have a reasonable chance to learn about this before he issued his purchase order.

    I am pretty sure that investigations on the internet about what might be required although not being advertised is not part of the "reasonable chance to know".

    Yet, the purchasing contract has been made with D2D, who will have major problems in pointing out that they could not have known about this licensing issue.

    This becomes especially important as by downloads from the internet you have no chance (see above: "reasonable chance") to know what to expect before the download, if not advertised.

    It is like having to except the EULA before opening of the package, or after having opened the package to read the EULA not being able to return the product.

    Therefore, in Germany you have to point out on the package that internet connection may be needed, additional charges may apply, and so on.
    Otherwise, as stated above, the purchasing transaction is void from the beginning on (under the assumption, of course, that you did not make use of the non-advertised "services", "features" or whatever - in that case of course you would be lost).

    Bottom line:
    I am pretty sure that
    a) D2D would refund, even if "This product is not eligible for refunds", just to avoid any bad publicity
    b) if D2D would not refund, you would have good chances when going to court
    c) consumer protection agencies will gladly join you in such a lawsuit
     
  6. Grey2ham

    Grey2ham Chieftain

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    Generally the 'no refund' policy only refers to games that are released. A pre-ordered game has not been recieved and generally a digital distributor will refund a pre-order without much hassle (2 emails).
    Technically in the UK you have a right to refund within 7 days under distance selling for anyhting bought over the internet, however, you can't use it if you want a refund.
     
  7. Commander Bello

    Commander Bello Say No 2 Net Validations

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    But here we're talking about the necessity to sign in onto Steam to run the game - which implies to have received the download.
     
  8. Shurdus

    Shurdus Am I Napoleon?

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    Very, very wrong there. In history there were worse examples where the buyer was punished for not doing research. One may not expect the consumer to scourge the internet inside out, but one can expect the consumer to do some basic research. It depends on a judge where the line is, but I am fairly confident that one may learn these requirements by themselves.

    In the EU they put those things on the package not because they have to, but to make it perfectly clear for everyone that you were warned. The companies distributing the product cover themselves by making everything explicit, to prevent anyone from getting funny ideas. D2D could have provided more info, and if they wanted to be decent they probably would provide the info, but you also have to take into account the position that D2D has as well, since that company has interewsts as well. Do others provide info about steam? If not, then D2D advertising with a warning may very well hurt sales. All things considered, it may even weigh more heavy that your rights as a consumer.

    The above is even more true because I still do not think steam is a part of the product per se. Since you like examples, suppose your internet provider decides to force the use of wireless routers. This does not make your internet connection flawed, the signal that your provider provides is perfectly fine. It is a side-issue that while you may not agree with and may be a dealbreaker for you, it is not an issue with the internet signal. They company made a deal to provide you with a signal, and they do. Should you want to protest this forced use of wireless routers, you need to base your claims in court on basic contracts-principles rather than on consumer-laws.
    Ad a
    Maybe, but keep in mind that they are also a buisness company. How many publicity would it really generate? I think you overestimate this, although I care not to go into the finer details there since I know nothing about that and it would be speculation.

    ad b
    I lolled.

    ad c
    I work for a 'consumer protection agency'. I would advice my clients not to go to court over this, and if they did, I would tell them to get another person as legal representation. I would not take this case. One reason is that I think the legal case has no chance, another is an economic reason. The consumer wants to spend a lot of money in getting a refund for a few bucks. What guarantees do I get that the client will indeed pay my bills, given the fact that he demonstrates that he has little common sense? I would not take my chances, and I know for a fact that a lot of agencies would not take that chance. My company would not take this case. We would write an angry letter to D2D, and if that does not work we won't take it any further.

    Maybe you can find a company that would take the case, but you will have a hard time in doing so.
     
  9. Thyrwyn

    Thyrwyn Guardian at the Gate

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    That is where they would list "internet connection required for activation", but since you need to have an internet connection in order to download the game, they may not. They will probably not list Steam as a requirement.
     
  10. Welnic

    Welnic Emperor

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    A week before Dragon Age came out I emailed D2D to find out what kind of authentication it was using because I do not like EA's version. I was only going to buy it from D2D if it used their authentication scheme. They were unable to tell me. I asked EA's support and they couldn't even understand the question. I got a refund from D2D since the game hadn't been released yet and bought a disk version. As it turned out it did use EA's version, but that didn't turn out to be as bad I feared.

    So I think that it could happen that requiring Steam may not show up on the product page.
     
  11. Zoolooman

    Zoolooman Space, Time, Travel

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    Greg.

    Would you consider updating the Steam preorder to be competitive? I was an early adopter of the Deluxe edition. It'd be considerate and much appreciated to provide your most willing customers with equal "service."

    :)
     
  12. cccv

    cccv King

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    Because they've done a bang-up job of sensing (or giving a rat's...) about the fallout of every announcement they've made so far? I like to think I'm more cautious than cynical, but it's pretty hard to overestimate corporate greed.

    If the expansions (assuming they exist) offer gameplay changes like in the past but no new civs, then I will expect the xpacs will also be cheaper than in the past. Something tells me that's not gonna be the case.
     
  13. wolfigor

    wolfigor Emperor

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    In first let me take a few lines to thank Shurdus for taking the time to explain in a very professional way what is the legal standing.
    Reading Shurdus words and making an effort to really understand them, makes everything clear (obviously he is "in the business").

    I agree on this point.
    However I would say that remain the issue of "double licensing" (I don't know what it could be the real legal term for it).
    By buying from D2D I assume that I'll be stipulating a contract only with D2D and I don't have to stipulate a contract with any other 3rd party.
    However, once I try to run CIVV I'll discover that I have to sign yet another contract with a 3rd party (Steam), and this is something that was never clarified when I bought the software from D2D.
    The software can be considered fully functional, but I was not informed about being de-facto obliged to sign a contract with a 3rd party.

    To use the car example, it's like buying car and then discover you are obliged to refuel your car only from a specific supplier: you can only refuel from xyz. :)
    If such a legal obligation would exist, I assume the company selling the car should tell me in advance (and make it explicit in writing).

    What you think about this position?


    This is a larger and more basic problem of asymmetry between the "rights" of companies and the Rights of consumers:
    companies dictates rules, write contracts that may change at any time, and the consumers can only accept.
    For example you get a subscription with an ISP.
    You must keep it for 1 years, else you pay penalties for closing the contract earlier.
    BUT the ISP can cut the contract at any time without penalty, and they can modify the price without giving you the option to close your contract.

    Unfortunately this is the attitude of most on the companies, especially when it comes to network services (like Steam, D2D, etc.).

    Spoiler :
    I have been recently at a W3C workshop about privacy: Currently, privacy policies are one way, and this is deeply flawed as it dis-empowers end users (to agree to a privacy policy likely means you are giving up a right to your data).
    Together with others we did try to make giving more control to the users by enforcing in the standards a geopriv style reverse cookie, which would basically tell a site: "you can use this data, but only for a set period of time after which you must delete it; and you cannot resell it or do anything else with it" etc.
    At the same Privacy Workshop, Google's I. F. argued that the above is too hard for users to understand and that sites would not comply - in other words, "people are too stupid to deserve privacy and we can't be arsed to give it to them because it would require work".


    Even more sad is to see that most of users of online services cannot be bothered to read and understand the implications of all the privacy agreements and EULA they (implicitly) sign. :(
     
  14. Shurdus

    Shurdus Am I Napoleon?

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    No problem. :)


    It has always been like that. In the past, clicking 'I accept' was all it took to agree with the licence agreement. Enforcing that agreement was practically impossible in the past, but the agreement in itself has always existed. Saying that you were surprised that civ5 also has a licence agreement is therefore a bit silly, since it is common practise. Basically complaining about it is comaplaining about the fact that they enforce it. They have every right to enforce it, so I think saying you were surprised and you want to terminate the deal based on false information or false advertising is not possible.

    Keep in mind that this is the gist and not the full legal story, but this is how I would bet it would turn out. The lawyers from D2D - should this go to court - would love this case since it brings up their success rate. :)

    There is indeed an assymetry between consumers and companies. This is part of the reason that European laws protect the consumers. This however is not a case where you can bring up this protection. This means that as a consumer you need to provide a lot more proof than you would need to do if the consumer protection laws were applicable.

    All in all I would advise anyone to carefully consider pre-ordering, especially if they may consider cancelling the order.
     
  15. wolfigor

    wolfigor Emperor

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    I see... so there is no end to the queues of EULAs and other agreements I implicitly accepts from the first one.
    Accepting the EULA when I purchase from D2D leads to the CIVV EULA, but then I also have to sign up with then Steam with its own EULA.
    My point is that as consumer I know about CIV EULA but I may not know that it leads to yet another EULA (Steam): in some way when I accept to buy from D2D I also accept all subsequent EULAs even if I cannot know how many they are and what they force me to.

    I agree with you that when I buy from D2D I perfectly know that there will be (a yet unknown) CIVV EULA to accept.
    But I can reasonably not know that it leads to Steam EULAs.

    From the point of the consumer I see it as being quite unfair: I sign a contract I can read (D2D) but I also sign for an unknown number of other contracts that I cannot read (CIVV & Steam in this example).
    I would expect that I'm allowed to reject EULAs at any point in the chain and get refounded.
     
  16. Shurdus

    Shurdus Am I Napoleon?

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    I feel you make a very strong argument, but there is one catch.

    D2D states that there will be no refunds. It is in bold and red print on the page, so you are expected to know at least that. Pair this with the fact that the consumer is expected to do at least some minor research. You are not protected by any law that protects users in good faith if you are not even trying to inform yourself. I would expect any judge to take the stance that users doing some research may at the very least look at the site dedicated to the game. If civilization5.com makes a reference to steam, I would expect the judge to assume that a consumer who is in good faith could and shoud have been informed.

    All in all I have sympathy for your cause and the way you put into words what exactly the difficulty and implication in this case is. It is very understandable for a consumer to be somewhat misled here. That however is not D2D's fault per se, since they do not actively mislead you. While I feel your reasoning is understandable and I can see myself falling into the pitfall-of-not-knowing-what-I-get-myself-into, I feel a judge would not rule the same way.
     
  17. onedreamer

    onedreamer Dragon

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    With all this mess, with at least 5 different versions at release, I wouldn't want to be a modder or a tech support.
    I already imagine the scenario at the tech support forum:
    Joe: my game crashes when I chose the Babylon civ.
    Support: what version do you have?
    Bill: he must have the D2D version, because with my shiny Steam version I ravage the world as Babylon regularly.

    :crazyeye:


    Of course there is.
    And yeah, I agree about the genius. In fact, I don't understand how they could come up with this retail program, it's beyond my capabilities :rolleyes:
     
  18. Shurdus

    Shurdus Am I Napoleon?

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    Versions are typically reffered to with a number, also if I were in the support department I would listen to Joe and Joe alone. If Bill answers for Joe I would ignore Bill. I ask Joe what his version number is, wait for Joe to respond, ignore Bill. Problem solved. :king:
     
  19. PieceOfMind

    PieceOfMind Drill IV Defender Retired Moderator

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    As I understood it, EULAs are always made publicly available so buyers do not have to purchase the product before they discover the EULA (and possibly find its terms unacceptable to agree to). For example, the Fear 2 box (a steamworks game) tells you that a steam account is necessary and gives the website for where to read the terms and conditions of subscription to steam.

    In the case of D2D, they should have to provide a link to the EULA and also Steam's SSA. Nothing more.
     
  20. wolfigor

    wolfigor Emperor

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    Thank you again for this very instructive "chat" Shurdus.
    As you may have already understood I have an general curiosity and interest about legal aspects of market, licensing, and privacy rules.

    I feel that I'm going offtopic and (ab) using civfanatic forum for a discussion about consumer rights... I would take it offline if I had an easy way to do so.
    I could bother one of the lawyers in my company, but I already do give them plenty of work for contracts already. :)

    However even D2D has to bend to "recession" rules for online sales in various countries.
    If I remember correctly, USA consumers have 30 days to rethink about their purchase.
    EU consumers about 14 days.
    I don't think any contract can go against the laws of the country where it operates.



    Ok, lets imagine I'm a generic buyer and not a civfanatic (and pretty concerned about reading the EULAs I sign).
    Go D2D, no mention of Steam.
    I know that CIVV will have its own EULA so I go to civilization5.com to check for information.

    The page offers an "INFORMATION" menu.
    No reference to Steam there, like nowhere else in the website.
    I may start reading the forums... but in my view that's beyond the boundaries of what you should expect from a consumer.

    In civilization5.com itself they mention steam only in the "NEWS" section:
    It's quite easy to spot now (3rd news) but probably closer to launch may become much less visible.
    Reading the text I may or may not understand that I must subscribe to Steam.
    The text say that CIV will be powered by steamwork features, but it's not really clear that I must subscribe to Steam play CIV:
    - I may not know that Steamwork is part of Steam and requires yet another EULA.
    - Even if I know, I may assume that Steam subscription is required only if I use features connected to Steamwork

    In conclusion, it's not really immediate for the consumer to know what they sign into when buying from D2D.
    At the very least civilization5.com should make it clear that you must activate the game via Steam, no way around it, regardless if you buy the game via steam or other sources.
    D2D should as well indicate that the product (CIVV) will require to authenticate via Steam and thus sign in Steam (come a Steam subscriber).

    In my view both D2D and civilization5.com fail to give correct and complete information to the buyer, thus giving right to cancel the deal and obtain refund.
     

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