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Tuesday, 24 June 2008 05:44

Misguided plan to sue Valve over PS3 version of Orange Box

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File under rumour for now, but there is an undercurrent of momentum building to launch a law suit against HalfLife 2 creators Valve for false advertising.  A growing community of dissatisfied PS3 owners are not happy with their port of The Orange Box. 

Valve have until July 1st to produce a patch for the PS3 version of The Orange Box – containing HalfLife 2 and both HL2 Episodes to date, Team Fortress 2 and Portal .

The following comment was posted over at scrawlfx.com .
 
"One of our readers, Toni T, has sent us in this saying that unhappy Orange Box gamers are going to sue Valve unless they receive a patch for the game before July 1, 2008. I know that is a short time, though when you think about it the game hasn't received any real support in seven months. We post this as a rumour because the thread posted was supposedly deleted and we have no real proof whether gamers will actually pursue the suing. The case is for false advertising and they are bringing it to the US Federal Trade Commission."

Though the actual issues with the PS3 version are hazy at best, the rumoured sue threat and petition – supposedly now at 2000 signatures – against Valve continues to grow.

If all this is true, it is misguided.  For starters, Valve had little to do with the port to the PS3.  If there are issues with the game, Valve themselves are guilty of no more than putting their name and IP reputation to a below par product.

Gabe Newell of Valve has been on record as disliking development on the PlayStation platform, preferring PC and by dint Xbox 360 to be the focus for Valve titles.

The forthcoming Left 4 Dead for example will – to date – not see a PS3 release.

Publisher/Developer giant Electronic Arts took it upon themselves to provide the market with a PS3 version of The Orange Box.  A development process that caused a delayed release on the PS3 as it was.


Secondly the issues seem to be ill defined . There are definitely issues with load times (a load that takes three seconds on Xbox 360 can take seventeen seconds on PS3 for example), but does this constitute ‘false advertising’?

Then there are the frame rate inconsistencies, stuttering and inferior sound quality (2.1 PCM over HDMI connection rather than DTS 5.1 at least), but once again, does this constitute ‘false advertising’?

The biggest problems lay around the predominately online game Team Fortress 2, with the EA port suffering complaints about constant lag and lacking many features present in the PC and Xbox 360 version.

I am no lawyer, but unless there is a clear cut – “this product does not deliver exactly what the box says it will” – then the case is doomed to fail.  This whole furore seems to be nothing more than a bad port causing console/PC envy.

It is unfortunate for everybody; both Valve and EA lose face and PS3 owners of the game feel gimped.  Xbox 360/PC owners may feel a little period of gloat and in the end some layers may garner a buck or two, and it may end there.

On the other hand, EA may indeed have plans for a patch that could alleviate the issues.  Once again we will return to the land of chocolate and cake (though remember ‘the cake is a lie’) gaming. 

Whatever happens, it seems that even many PS3 owners of The Orange Box are having fun playing it, and are not too concerned by issues that may crop up, and wondering what the fuss is.  In the end, market forces will determine EA’s reaction – any legal action is doomed without a clear case.

Still it is the consumers right to protest a bad product, the underswell of complaints against Microsoft during the great 'Red Ring of Death' Xbox 360 controversy resulted in a much better deal for consumers.  As such this right should never be denied or not considered an appropriate strategy.


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Mike Bantick

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Having failed to grow up Bantick continues to pursue his childish passions for creative writing, interactive entertainment and showing-off through adulthood. In 1994 Bantick began doing radio at Melbourne’s 102.7 3RRRFM, in 1997 transferring to become a core member of the technology show Byte Into It. In 2003 he wrote briefly for the The Age newspaper’s Green Guide, providing video game reviews. In 2004 Bantick wrote the news section of PC GameZone magazine. Since 2006 Bantick has provided gaming and tech lifestyle stories for iTWire.com, including interviews and opinion in the RadioactivIT section.

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