Valve Found Guilty of Breaking Australian Consumer Law

Valve is known for creating the popular digital sales platform Steam, which does everything hardware to regular sales on video games. One thing they’ve been keen to improve on for a while has been their refund policy, something which saw the original policy replaced with one that could offer full refunds to people who purchased a game on the platform. The problem is that the original policy wasn’t in place when the court case against Valve was raised, a case which has now ended with Valve being found guilty of breaking Consumer Law in Australia.

In the court case, that was started back in 2014 by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), Valve was taken to court because it lacked a refund policy, something that is required by Australian consumer law. In their defence they stated that it doesn’t “officially” conduct business, instead offering a portal to video games through clients.

Overlooking the case, Justice Edelman stated that Valve was doing business in Australia and must, therefore, follow Australian law. This is the first time that the term “goods” has been applied to computer software in Australia, something that is bound to have far-reaching impacts in Australia in regards to their legal statement.

With a hearing set for the 15th April to see how much Valve will have to pay in “relief”, including the likely outcome that they will pay the ACCC’s legal fees, it would seem that initial attempts to resolve this matter and follow the law will still cost the company.

Microsoft Wants to Know If You’ll Sell Back Your Digital Games

With the internet as fast as it is, and people gaining access to bigger and bigger storage options at cheaper prices, it comes as no surprise that people prefer the method of digital delivery for games. Being able to click a button and play a new release only minutes afterwards removes the need to travel to a store, collect a copy (if there is even one in the store) and then return home and wait for it to install. The problem being is returning or selling the copy, something Microsoft is keen to know about for your digital games.

The problem with digital games is that because they have nothing to physically return, companies are often hesitant to offer refunds or returns. Steam, one of the world’s leading digital distribution software’s, only recently updated its terms and conditions to offer returns on a wider scale than the previously accepted “paid and unplayed” model.

As part of their customer survey, Microsoft has recently been asking their users would they sell back their digital games for store credit?

In the question, they give (as an example) that the “sold back” games would give you 10% of their paid value as store credit. Meaning that £50 game would nab you £5 store credit to spend on your next game. Many would argue that 10% is barely anything of the original price while others would argue that it’s better than the games currently filling up your collections collecting digital dust.

What do you think? Would you take the offer and trade in some old games if you were offered 10% store credit?

Comcast Demanded $60,000 For Not Installing Internet

Silicon Valley is known as the place to be for startups in the technology business, and with companies looking to move there next to some of the biggest names in the business, it comes as no surprise that companies are often after the best internet they can get. SmartCar initially thought that moving there would be like a dream come true for the company with the amazing deal Comcast was offering on their internet, that was until several months later when the company wanted $60,000 after not installing the internet.

Founder and CEO of SmartCar Sahas Katta moved the company office to Silicon Valley with the dream of it being the best place to start the company off. Looking for the best deal Katta found that Comcast was offering “Comcast Business” in their area, offering 100Mbps downstream and 20Mbps upstream for only $189.90 a month. After signing a deal to get the package Katta was told by Comcast that they would need to do a site survey to see if they were actually going to be able to match that promise.

The response was that the new office was “just outside of” the Comcast service zone. They deemed it financially unviable to run the cables required to the building and instead offered to bring fiber to the building after Katta signed a four-year contract paying $1,050 a month for the 100Mbps service he was originally promised. Having signed the lease for the new building Katta felt like there was no choice and signed, with the promise that he would have fiber within 120 days.

With the lease on the property ending Katta contacted Comcast stating that he wished to terminate the contract, at which Comcast stated that in order to cancel the contract SmartCar would need to pay $60,900.45 to cover “construction costs”.

Thankfully Comcast has waived these fees after Ars Technica got ahold of Comcast’s public relations team regarding the matter, and have even promised a refund of the $2,100 deposit that was already paid. Just goes to show that you need to read and check you can actually get the internet they promise before you sign the contract.

IRS Hacked By The Same Issue They Were Protecting People From

Last year the US Internal Revenue System revealed that they had been hacked. At first they said that up to 100,000 people were affected by the hack, only to then bump that up to 334, 000 in August. The latest figures put that closer to 724,000 and set to only get worse as it seems they have been hacked yet again.

When filing a tax return you are now required to provide the “Identity protection PIN” that you are given by the IRS. These are specific codes given to people to place on tax returns, failure to do so invalidates the tax return and the IRS will reject it. Sounds like a good idea doesn’t it? So what happens when the IRS’s record of these secret PIN’s are hacked?

Becky Wittrock, an accountant in South Dakota, went to file her tax return this year only to find that the pin had already been used to file a “large refund request” more than three weeks prior. How did the hackers get access to the PIN? Seems that if you lose your PIN you can retrieve it by logging into the IRS website. Seems this is where the problem lies, as the technology used to secure this login process is the same technology that was breached last year.

That’s right, in order to protect people from a hack the IRS used the same technology that was breached by that hack. In order to retrieve your PIN you were asked questions (known as KBA or knowledge-based authentication) such as “on which of the following streets have you lived?” and other multiple choice questions, a system that allowed a hacker to answer the questions correctly.

Seems like a big mistake for the IRS to make, costing both the government and hard working people time, money and stress because they didn’t check that their fix didn’t use the very thing that got them into trouble in the first place.

Apple Releases Software Update to Fix ‘Error 53’

Some iPhone users recently encountered a very worrying message which disabled their handset. The ‘Error 53’ code occurs when an unofficial repair shop replaces the connector between the Touch ID sensor and iPhone home button. Usually, it’s quite easy to acquire a replacement handset from Apple if any problems arise. Although, this depends if the phone is within the warranty period and the store might ask for a proof of purchase. In these situations, customers have to resort to repair shops who charge a fee for their services. As you can imagine, this error code caused a great deal of panic and anger among loyal Apple customers.

Thankfully, Apple has released an updated version of iOS 9.2.1 but you can only find this version via iTunes. This will restore the functionality of any iPhone rendered useless by the ‘Error 53’ code. In a statement, Apple said that the

“…error 53 occurs when a device fails a standard security test designed to ensure that the Touch ID fingerprint scanner is working correctly.”

The company also added:

“We apologise for any inconvenience, this was designed to be a factory test and was not intended to affect customers.”

“Customers who paid for an out-of-warranty replacement of their device based on this issue should contact AppleCare about a reimbursement.”

Mobile analyst Ben Wood at CCS Insight provided an insight into the reasons why Apple enforced such as strict security measure:

“To me, there was a lot of logic in what they said around the ‘error 53’ element,”

“If you’re using your fingerprint to unlock sensitive data or make payments and there was the ability for someone to replace the screen and modify the module to take control of your phone – that’s not a good thing at all.”

This makes sense because cyber-criminals might alter the sensor to find any personal information on a stolen handset. Given the amount of online banking and wireless payments, it seems like a logical idea. On the other hand, Apple has a reputation for restricting their devices and trying to keep total control.

Amazon India Will No Longer Offer Refunds on Mobile Phones

Amazon’s ability to offer impeccable customer service and a straightforward returns policy has made it a global leader in online shopping. This ensures consumers have a loyalty to Amazon’s store through peace-of-mind shopping. There’s even been situations when the company has honoured misprices which has cost them money in the short-term. However, the company’s management looks towards the larger picture and knows more money will be made via repeat or future purchases instead of an individual mistake. While this kind of returns policy is absolutely fantastic for the consumer, some users can abuse it and send back perfectly functional items on a regular basis. Admittedly, I’ve returned products because they haven’t met my expectations or I’ve change my mind. However, it’s important to find a balance and consider each purchase very carefully.

In the US and Europe, Amazon can charge a restocking fee depending on the item’s condition if it’s not faulty. Honestly, I haven’t really seen many situations where this applies, and Amazon staff tend to refund the full amount including shipping. This policy doesn’t apply in the Indian market, and reports indicate some customers have been abusing the refund policy quite badly. As a result of this, Amazon India will not longer accept any refunds on mobile phones, and only replace them if the item is faulty. The updated statement reads:

“All mobile phones that are fulfilled by Amazon, purchased on or after 7th February 2016, will have a replacement only policy. Mobile phone items that are fulfilled by Amazon will no longer be eligible for refunds,”

It’s a shame that the minority who abuse Amazon’s return policy has spoilt it for the rest. Also, this is a fairly strict line from Amazon and could deter users from using them in the future. It makes business sense though if the amount of people abusing the system is costing them a lot of money. Please remember that this only applies to the Indian store, and consumer protection in the UK, and Europe explicitly states that a refund must be offered even if the items don’t meet your expectations.

OnePlus Blames Cable Fiasco on ‘Cheaply Made’ 3rd Party Chargers

The OnePlus 2 handset has struggled to live up to its predecessor and isn’t the “flagship killer” everyone hoped for. Despite this, it’s still a very good smartphone for the money providing you can acquire an invite. On the other hand, the company recently encountered a large number of complaints as the bundled USB Type-C cable had the potential to damage other devices by drawing too much power. Thankfully, OnePlus addressed this in a blog post and made some interesting claims:

*Name-brand products like chargers, cables, power banks and USB hubs that are made by reputable companies are usually pretty trustworthy and safe to use. But there are a lot of products on the market that are cheaply made and more likely to potentially harm your devices. It’s a good rule of thumb to choose products from the brands you trust and research their products to ensure compatibility before you purchase them.

“The issue is that the cable and adapter are designed for a maximum of 2 amps of power, but the resistor will allow fast-charging devices to try to draw more power than a power source may allow. This could result in damage to the power source (third-party charger, USB port, etc.) if the device and power source do not have an internal mechanism to self-regulate the amount of power flowing to or from them. Typically, if a charger has a CE, UL or CCC logo on it, it has been certified and is safe to use.”

“There are a lot of products on the market that are cheaply made and more likely to potentially harm your devices. It’s a good rule of thumb to choose products from the brands you trust and research their products to ensure compatibility before you purchase them.”

It appears they are portioning the blame on their supplier and feel the cables were not up to par. Additionally, the bundled cables didn’t even confirm to the official USB Type-C standard. If you purchased an official cable directly from OnePlus, you can apply for a refund here until December the 31st. Sadly, this doesn’t apply to any third-party retailers but ones with a good customer service record should refund you in a timely manner.

OnePlus to Refund Faulty USB Type-C Cables

OnePlus, after admitting there is a flaw in their USB Type-C cables, has begun to offer refunds for these cables – or some of them at least. If your cable came packaged with a OnePlus 2, you’ll just have to be careful what you use the cable for.

The issue with OnePlus’ Type-C cables was brought to light by Google Engineer Benson Leung, who tested the cable. He discovered that the cable did not conform to the USB Type-C 1.1 specification, as it was able to draw too much power. The consequence of this being that “[the cable] may cause damage to whatever cable, hub, PC, or charger you plug into this,” he reported. OnePlus went on to explain the problem, the cable uses the wrong resistor, using only a 10kΩ component, rather than the specification standard 56kΩ resistor.

Thankfully, the cable is perfectly safe to use with the OnePlus 2, which comes with a USB Type-C cable in the box. This is due to the OnePlus 2 not being a fast charge supported device, which are unaffected by the issue. “if you’re charging or transferring data to or from the OnePlus 2” OnePlus report, “you should have no problems using the cable that shipped with your OnePlus 2 or the cables or adapters you bought separately on OnePlus.net.” This is the reason that no refund or replacement is given for the bundled cables, as the are considered fit-for-purpose, which is for the OnePlus 2 device.

For those of you who have purchased a faulty cable, you can apply for a refund here until December the 31st. And OnePlus provide assurance that their engineers are working on a version of the cable that will use the 56kΩ resistor. And if you got the cable with your OnePlus 2 and are unwilling to shell out for a new one, Leung has some advice: “If you want to keep the cable, mark it with a tag so you don’t forget it’s special.”

Afro Samurai 2 Devs Pull Game from Steam & Offer Full Refunds

It has been an erratic year for the games market, following a selection of potentially great games that launched broken, Afro Samurai 2 is the latest game to be struck with failure. Rather than drag the process of a dying game out any longer, the developers at Versus Evil have decided to pull the plug and give all their customers a full refund, what they’ll do after that remains to be seen.

Steve Escalante of Versus Evil revealed that the game has been pulled from Steam and that they’re now offering refunds for Volume 1. Meanwhile, they’ve also cancelled the development of Volume 2 & 3 and this is true for all versions on consoles as well as PC.

Gamers didn’t like the game, and now it seems Versus Evil agree with them.

“The game was a failure. We could not do, in good conscience, Volume 2 and Volume 3. So we’ve begun the process, it’s been a long process to figure it out because Sony has never really had to do this in this way, but we’re returning all the money. So across the board we’re putting out an apology saying ‘sorry about this’.”

I doubt they made that decision lightly, but it’s good of them to admit where they went wrong, fix the problem for their customers and move on. Hopefully the studio can recover, learn from any mistakes made and come back in the not too distant future with a much better product.

“We’re Versus Evil; a company perspective, from a partnership perspective and now we have to do it from a consumer perspective. So we pulled it down, because we didn’t want to exacerbate it anymore and then we’re refunding the money.”

Did you play Afro Samurai 2? Let us know what you thought of it in the comments section below.

Green Man Gaming Refunding Batman: Arkham Knight Until End of 2015

Batman: Arkham Knight is still a colossal mess on PC and Warner Brothers have admitted they might not be able to rectify a whole host of issues. As a result, the studio decided to offer widespread refunds even if you’ve logged a significant amount of time playing the game. However, this has to be completed through the Steam refund policy, and only applies to purchases directly on Steam. In reality, a large proposition of customers acquire keys from third-party sellers and only use Steam to activate their license.

This means, anyone who purchased the game through other retailers, or received it with an NVIDIA graphics card cannot ask for a full refund. Thankfully, Green Man Gaming has acknowledged this and released a statement which reads:

“Hi folks. Just a quick little update to let you know that in accordance with WBIE’s statement on October 31st regarding Batman: Arkham Knight, we’ll be honouring refunds on the title until the end of 2015.”

I have to applaud Green Man Gaming for once again offering refunds to Batman: Arkham Knight. This premium level of customer service makes people feel more inclined to purchase games from Green Man Gaming in the near future. I only hope other retailers will follow suit, although I’m not sure if Green Man Gaming are covering the entire costs for these refunds. Therefore, some resellers might be unwilling to do this.

If you wish to initiate a refund, please visit this link.

Warner Brothers Issuing Refunds For Disgruntled Batman: Arkham Knight Customers

Batman: Arkham Knight will go down in history as one of the worst PC releases ever to grace the platform, and continues to suffer from a plethora of performance issues. This is astonishing given the game’s budget and shockingly, Warner Brothers outsourced the port to Iron Galaxy, a studio with a terrible reputation. As a result, the PC version was produced on the cheap and ended up being removed from Steam. Once Batman: Arkham Knight had been removed, Warner Brothers attempted to rectify the performance problems and re-launch the game when it was fit for purpose. However, some users are reporting the game is somehow running worse and a huge amount of bugs haven’t been fixed.

In lieu of this information, Warner Brothers have released a post which reads:

“We are very sorry that many our customers continue to be unhappy with the PC version of Batman: Arkham Knight. We worked hard to get the game to live up to the standard you deserve but understand that many of you are still experiencing issues.

Until the end of 2015, we will be offering a full refund on Batman: Arkham Knight PC, regardless of how long you have played the product. You can also return the Season Pass along with the main game (but not separately). For those of you that hold onto the game, we are going to continue to address the issues that we can fix and talk to you about the issues that we cannot fix.

Thank you,

Warner Bros Interactive Entertainment”

This is a sorry state of affairs, but at least some customers can receive a full refund. However, I’m almost certain this only applies to those who purchased the game through Steam. As a result, if you want a refund and simply entered a code from a 3rd party reseller, it looks like you’re out of luck. The same applies to people who received the game with an NVIDIA graphics card.

30 Days Returns Now Law In The UK

We’ve all had it before, you’ve gone out and brought something new, something nice and shiny and you get it home, open the package like a child at Christmas and when you go to use it, you find it won’t work. Sometimes it takes a little longer, like that MP3 player you had which worked for about a week and then one day just stopped turning on. How about that phone screen which turned black after two weeks and yet still rings? We have even come across that with video games, when you buy that bit of software and then suddenly half way through the first level you find that it’s taken up all your RAM and your computer is slower than your calculator? Now you don’t have to worry about that, at least not for the first 30 days.

In the UK, on the 1st of October 2015, the Consumer Rights Act came into effect. This is the first time that your rights, or at least those outlining digital content, have been set in law. Previously the best you had was that you were entitled to a refund within a “reasonable time”, if it takes you a week to get around to playing a game and they said you should have played it on the first day, you were in trouble. Now you have one month to claim, and if a repair or replacement is impossible you are entitled to a refund. The refund must, I repeat MUST, arrive within 14 days of the acknowledgement of the claim by the retailer.

What about that game you download only to find it has come with a bunch of hidden bonus features, and not of the good kind. Well if their software has infected your PC with viruses, you could be liable for compensation (cue the automated phone calls).

Have you ever had to request a refund for a fault game? How about a piece of technology that broke just before/after the warrenty period ended?

Thank you Independent for the information.

Thank you Pc Gamer for the image.

Consumer Rights Act 2015 Comes Into Force

The Consumer Rights Act (2015) was enacted into law today which properly outlines the responsibilities retailers have to their customers in a transparent manner. Previously, the Sales of Goods Act (1979) provided information on consumer rights and constituted situations which were eligible for a full refund. Sadly, the Act contained a lack of clarity meaning retailers could use their own judgement to set the duration for returns. As a result, this ambiguity in the law meant it was unknown if 2, 5, or 20 days was enough to allow for a full refund.

Thankfully, the Consumer Rights Act has addressed this head-on and ensures customers can get a refund within 30 days of the initial purchase date if the item is faulty. This seems like a sensible procedure and provides peace-of-mine. Throughout Europe, companies are required by law to uphold a 2-year guarantee, but this only covers manufacturing flaws. Now the Consumer Rights Act is officially valid, customers can get a refund, and not just a replacement model which they might not want. In theory, this also covers digital purchases, meaning any game not-fit-for-purpose has to be exchanged. This becomes quite complicated as a corrupt audio file is easy to replace, but broken games could take months to fix, as shown by Batman Arkham Knight.

Here is a brief rundown of the new legislation’s basic principles:

  • Must be of satisfactory quality, based on what a reasonable person would expect, taking into account the price
  • Must be fit for purpose. If the consumer has a particular purpose in mind, he or she should make that clear
  • Must meet the expectations of the consumer

As with any legal announcement, it will take some time to learn how it applies to digital transactions. Perhaps, a precedent is required to determine its effectiveness for broken games, or poor quality movie streams. Whatever the case, this is a pro-consumer move and should work well alongside Distance Selling Regulations in the UK.

Thank you BBC for providing us with this information.

F1 2015 PC Release is a Bug-Ridden Mess

The Formula One series from Codemasters has progressed at a fairly slow pace and can only be described as iterative in its update cycle. As a sim-racing enthusiast, I’ve been completely underwhelmed by Codemasters’ latest efforts. Why? Firstly, the games are plagued by incredibly inconsistent AI cars which struggle to overtake on Legend difficulty despite having fresher tires and a faster fuel mapping cycle. Furthermore, the physics engine in F1 2014 was ridiculously simplistic and didn’t work very well with wheel setups. Codemasters argued, the advanced physics and AI computations were not possible due to the limitations of the PS3 and Xbox 360. If this was the case, why was the PC version affected? Surely, the most cogent strategy would be to produce a complex PC sim, and scale it back for the consoles. Nevertheless, F1 2015 was touted as the first major update in the franchise and coded entirely with next generation consoles in mind. However, the final result is far from impressive and utilized a terrible blurry hue which makes the graphics seem quite dated.

According to the Steam Community, the game is littered with bugs, awful netcode and regular crashing to the desktop. Not only that, it is devoid of basic features including a Safety Car, Virtual Safety Car, Career Mode, Classic Cars, detailed transitions into the various sessions and more! YouTube channel Tiametmarduk posted a video showing the absurd glitches and complete lack of Quality Assurance. The AI behaves irrationally, the 2010 pit stop bug has returned and he’s even encountered cars ramming into each other in the pit lane.

Codemasters’ Community Manager acknowledged the scale of issues and announced the first PC patch.

“Hello everyone. We are aware of players encountering some issues with the PC build, and we have just pushed a new build to Steam.”

While this has alleviated the odd bug, it hasn’t made a dramatic change and won’t alter F1 2015’s complete lack of content. Even if the patch did fix all the problems, the game shouldn’t have launched in this state! This is pretty shocking considering Codemasters’ EGO engine has been quite reliable on a technical level. Currently, the game only has 29% positive reviews on the Steam store and Metacritic reports a user score of 3 with 5 positive ratings and 11 negative.

To put this into perspective, Batman: Arkham Knight has a better reputation with players than F1 2015 and that was removed from Steam. I sympathize with F1 fans expecting a truly next-generation experience and hope they will use the Steam refund policy to get their money back. Please, do not buy this game at the moment, it is a colossal mess. Another factor to consider is Codemasters’ delicate financial standing. Insider sources suggest at least 30 members of staff were let go with another 20 being reviewed. I honestly believe F1 2015 was a make or break product for Codemasters and feel if this isn’t sorted soon, their days could be numbered.

Warner Bros Halts Batman Arkham Knight Sales

Warner Bros has shaken the gaming landscape with their latest monumental move. In a bid to get ahead of troubles caused by the Batman Arkham Knight launch, Warner Bros is taking the radical step of suspending all sales until most issues have been fixed. While urging patience on the hand of fans, for those seriously unhappy with the game, WB has pointed out that they can refund either through Steam or their retail locations.

Community Admin Yorrick released a statement on both the Steam community and Batman Arkham Knight site. The key parts are as follows:

We want to apologize to those of you who are experiencing performance issues with Batman: Arkham Knight on PC. We take these issues very seriously and have therefore decided to suspend future game sales of the PC version while we work to address these issues to satisfy our quality standards… [and]… do whatever we can to make the experience better for PC players overall….We [will] work to deliver an updated version of Batman: Arkham Knight on PC so you can all enjoy the final chapter of the Batman: Arkham series as it was meant to be played.

Suspending sales while fixes are being implemented is a radical step for the publisher to take. Such a move is beyond rare and even other titles that suffered at heavily launch like Watch Dogs did not have their sales suspended. However, given the poor state of reviews, it’s unlikely many gamers will pick up the title and many hardcore fans would have already bought the game, making the loss a sales a moot point. In ensuring the game is actually polished when it is re-released, more gamers are less likely to have  a negative image of the Batman series and Warner Bros. Steam’s new refund policy also likely played a huge role as there would be no point in selling a game many might later refund.

From a more negative viewpoint, by removing the title from sale, it means that WB knows that the game was released prematurely and requires a considerable amount of time to fix, so much so that taking the game out of sale is required. While a laudable move, WB should have just delayed the PC launch as GTA:V did and released a finished game later than the console versions. Hopefully, other developers will take note of this and make sure their releases are suitable for release on launch day. Even massive day one patches, can’t solve everything if the patches don’t fix everything.

Indie Developers Call out Over Steams Refund Policy

Sneaky PC gamers are abusing Steam’s new refund policy, Indie developers have claimed, and they can prove it. Qwiboo and Puppygames, developers of Beyond Gravity and Revenge of the Titans, respectively, have both presented graphs that show a sharp plummet in sales since the refund policy came into effect on Steam.

The refund policy allows players to effectively demo games and get a refund if they are not satisfied, providing “the request is made within fourteen days of purchase, and the title has been played for less than two hours.” A fair policy, on the surface, that many Steam users have applauded, but short indie games are sadly left ripe for exploitation. In such cases, players can buy the game, complete it within the two-hour allowance, then apply for a refund.

Qwiboo was the first developer to reveal how the policy had hurt sales. A graph, released by the developer, shows how sales of it game Beyond Gravity – a well-reviewed, procedurally generated platformer, priced £1.59 – took a nosedive after the refund policy was implemented.

13 out of 18 sales of the game were refunded in the last few days, Qwiboo revealed.

Qwiboo included a second graph, showing that Steam’s upcoming Summer Sale is unlikely to be a factor in the sales figures.

Later, Puppygames chipped in, showing off a graph of total sales of all its games since Steam’s refund policy began:

Hopefully, these revelations should encourage Steam to make its refund policy more dynamic, with the time limit reflecting a percentage of the estimated game length, rather than just a rigid two hours.

Thank you Dark Side of Gaming for providing us with this information.

Infinite Crisis Closing on August 14th

Infinite Crisis was developed by Turbine Inc and published by Warner Bros and it started out as a highly popular MOBA game – but something must have changed as they’ve just announced that they will be shutting down the game and its servers on August 14th, 2015.

It’s only been out of beta for a couple of months and officially launched on Steam on the 26th of March this year. The short-lived game brought a wide range of crazy characters from the DC Comics Multiverse. The game is packed with heroes and villains alike, such as Nightmare Batman, Gaslight Catwoman, Green Lantern and The Flash.

“This was an extremely difficult decision to make. On behalf of the entire Infinite Crisis team we want to thank all of you for your feedback, support and for joining together to create one of the best communities in gaming,” the statement reads.

MOBA is very popular and millions of players taking it out on friend and foes in the PVP battlefields of DOTA2 and League of Legends. But the time doing that with super heroes is almost over.

Any player that bought the Starter Pack or Elite Pack through Steam can request a refund by visiting the official support article.

Anyone can still get a chance to try the game out for free and play it until the servers shut down in August.

Valve Got an ‘F’ for Its Customer Service

Valve, the world’s biggest PC gaming service, apparently was given an ‘F’ for its Customer Service by the Better Business Bureau, while other gaming companies mostly have received an ‘A’.

According to BBB, people have filed 717 complaints about Valve and Valve-related products, 502 of which they have failed to respond to. The majority of complaints come from problems with either a product or service, having BBB stating that Valve “has failed to resolve underlying cause(s) of a pattern of complaints.”

“On June 25, 2013, BBB recognized a pattern of complaints from consumers regarding product, service and customer service issues. Consumers allege the games they purchase from Valve Corporation or Steam malfunction, do not work or have an invalid CD key. Consumers also claim the company blocks users from accessing their library of games. Consumers further allege they attempt to contact the company for assistance, but Valve Corporation fails to correct the gaming issues, does not correct credit card charges or issue a refund, or does not respond at all.”

“On July 1, 2013, BBB notified the company of the complaint pattern. To date, the company has not responded to BBB’s request to address the pattern.”

BBB has stated that they review the companies once every six months to see if there are any improvements, which is not the case in Valve’s situation from their point of view. However, to be noted is the fact that BBB is not a government agency, nor does it have any sort of regulatory power. The company is a national network of non-profit groups who seek to improve businesses.

Valve’s development authority, Erik Johnson, stated that the company doesn’t consider BBB as a priority, but users have the right of it. This is why Valve needs to throw away its faulty customer service program and start anew.

“The BBB is a far less useful proxy for customer issues than Reddit,” Johnson began. “We don’t use them for much. They don’t provide us as useful of data as customers emailing us, posting on Reddit, posting on Twitter, and so on.”

“The more important thing is that we don’t feel like our customer service support is where it needs to be right now,” he said. “We think customers are right. When they say our support’s bad, our initial reaction isn’t to say, ‘No, it’s actually good. Look at all of this.’ It’s to say that, no, they’re probably right, because they usually are when it comes to this kind of thing. We hear those complaints, and that’s gonna be a big focus for us throughout the year. We have a lot of work to do there. We have to do better.”

Though Valve is stating it will have a look at improving its customer service, we have yet to see some sort of beta testing or indications of a new or improved service being in the works. Still, it is good to see the company at least acknowledging their weakness and this might even lead to making Valve’s notorious wall of silence a little shallow.

Thank you Kotaku for providing us with this information

Amazon Offering Partial Refund to Some NVIDIA GTX 970 Users

Over the past few weeks, we’ve all heard massive amount of hype over the mis-advertisement of the GTX 970 range in the VRAM department. Even though they were shown to have 4GB VRAM, in some very demanding benchmarks, users found the card topping out at 3GB and then becoming very slow towards the 3.5GB mark and not exceeding. Well in a recent update, Amazon has granted some of the consumers who requested a refund, a partial refund of around 20% and allowed them to keep the card. Two consumers have sent in screen shots of their chat logs with confirmation of the refund.

This confirms refunds for both Amazon US and Amazon UK users who bought from Amazon. Newegg has also started giving similar refunds in the US too.

Now with this confirmation, I wonder if the flood gates will now open and we will see many more returns or refund of this card.

Thanks to kitguru for providing us with this information

Microsoft Has Removed 1500 Fake Apps from Their Windows Store

Microsoft has modified their Windows Store app certification requirements with some new changes and as a result removed over 1500 fake apps from the store.

The three new changes that are key here are, the app must have a name that “clearly and accurately reflects the functionality of the app”, it has to be categorized according to function and purpose and lastly it isn’t allowed to have an icon that is to similar to those of other apps.

Microsoft said that most developers of apps for their Windows Store had no problems with the compliance of the new rules, but some did. The result was that Microsoft removed all these apps from their store and says it will refund the users who had bought the fake apps.

This is something I’d like to see in any app store, there is way to much there that should never have been there in the first place.

Thank you Mashable for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of Microsoft.

Yogscast Game Kickstarter Goes Downhill

Have you ever backed a Kickstarter project and wondered – what if this all ends up falling to pieces? Unfortunately for the backers of YouTube sensations Yogscast, this nightmare has become a reality.

After receiving $567,665 of their $250,000 Kickstarter goal, Yogscast in conjunction with Winterkewl games were set out to make a sandbox RPG titled ‘Yogventures’ with claims of it being “The game you’ve always wanted”.

The Kickstarter was launched in April 2012, enticing 13,000 people to donate a large total of $567,665 which, as stated above, is over double what they were originally asking.

As we learned thanks to Kotaku, Yogscast haven’t exactly had a squeaky clean past:

“Yogscast ran into some controversy when they announced a revenue-sharing program in which their personalities would make videos about games like Space Engineers in exchange for a percentage of revenue from the game. Many saw this as a serious conflict of interest.” Kotaku

Their fans were however able to put this behind themselves and funded this project with full confidence. It all began well, with the Alpha release announced in March 2013 with some rather large, and possibly unrealistic, game release features including:

  • Beautiful, randomly-generated game worlds that are different every time you start a new Yogventure
  • Fully shapeable terrain – with the ability for players to raise a mountain range or create a vast ocean; you can effortlessly shape your world however you imagine it
  • A wealth of novel building materials, creatures, NPCs and items
  • A rich underground to mine and explore – bristling with rare outcroppings of gems and crystals, hidden tombs and dark underground terrors that drop rare weapons and loot
  • A fully-fleshed out crafting system
  • An in-game physics engine that will even effect the blocks you place in your creations
  • The ability to customise your own unique avatar or play as one of your favourite Yogscast characters
  • Easy-to-use in-game modding API including in-game scripting
  • Ability for modders to have a chance to get their work added to the game
  • Regularly released video updates from the developers including the latest feature additions  

Soon after, the slippery slope started. On August 2013, they released a statement claiming financial issues:

“Unfortunately, that ate the majority of our budget while we worked in R&D so ever since December 2012 we have had to fund the development of Yogventures! ourselves. “What does that mean?” I can hear you ask. Well it means the team initially all took time off of our “day jobs” to dedicate to Yogventures, it turns out it was no where near enough time and we had to all go back to those day jobs and continue development on nights and weekends and lunch breaks and pretty much anywhere we can fit in a few hours to tackle the enormous amount of work needed. I’m proud of the team for sticking by the project despite our initial set backs and delays. It’s a testament to how much we all believe in this game and how much we really want to do a good job for all of you that helped Kickstart this company and get us off the ground and running! Hopefully in the near future, we will be able to expand even more and put even more time and effort into making Yogventures! what we all know it really can be, which is great fun!” Kickstarter

But never fear, the game was still being developed! Open BETA was released for the Kickstarters or for an optional buy-in of $30. The general consensus was quite positive and feedback was being accumulated – could this be the revival of a great project?

Unfortunately not. July 2013 saw the disbandment of Winterkewl games by their founder, Kris Vale who claims to have invested $25,000 and his marriage into this endeavour.

“I tried to cut all costs and continue the development even after the heavy losses of 2013 but the stress of trying to work full time and be full time on the game ultimately caused me to ruin my relationship with my wife, and she filed for divorce because I was so obsessed with finishing this game that she couldn’t take not seeing me anymore. When the divorce began I suffered a bit of a crisis personally and had to take a medical leave of absence from work. I almost lost my job too.
I’m deeply sorry that despite our best efforts we never reached a level of play-ability that inspired enough confidence from not only the community but even the Yogscast themselves. This is my fault, I agreed to every feature request we got because I didn’t want to lose the opportunity. I wanted so badly to make this project a reality I ignored the real-world risks to the point that I almost lost everything and worst of all I let you all down.” Reddit

With that heavy information in mind, Yogscast sent a letter to their funding group saying the game was no more. In this statement they said they will not be supplying refunds to backers and made this interesting statement:

“Although we’re under no obligation to do anything. Instead, we’re going to do our best to make this right, and make you really glad that you backed the project![sic]” Kotaku

Yogscast eased the pain by giving their backers each a copy to a game called TUG, which was developed by some of their friends. But can they just call it quits with no refunding or repercussions? As according to the Kickstarter FAQ, quite possibly not:

Is a creator legally obligated to fulfil the promises of their project?
Yes. Kickstarter’s Terms of Use require creators to fulfil all rewards of their project or refund any backer whose reward they do not or cannot fulfil. (This is what creators see before they launch.) This information can serve as a basis for legal recourse if a creator doesn’t fulfil their promises. We hope that backers will consider using this provision only in cases where they feel that a creator has not made a good faith effort to complete the project and fulfil.” Kickstarter

So where did the hard-earned money actually go? Yogscast claims:

  • $35,000.00 Concept Art / Sky boxes / Environment Textures (Senior matte painter / concept artist from PDI Dreamworks)
  • $35,000.00 Concept Art / Character Designs / UI Design (Senior Character Designer Treyarch)
  • $35,000.00 Modelling (Senior Modeler from Dreamworks)
  • $35,000.00 Textures / Surfacing / Shader development (Senior Surface Artist from Dreamworks)
  • $35,000.00 Animation (Senior Animator from Dreamworks)
  • $35,000.00 Programming / Unity Development (Myself Unity Developer)
  • $15,000.00 Unity Developer part time / intern
  • $100,000.00 Programming / Application Architecture / Back-end Server Code / Voxel Engine (TBD, we were courting several programmers with lots of game experience over the course of the Kickstarter)
  • $3500.00 Legal Fees Contracts
  • $1500.00 Accountant Fees
  • $15000.00 Hardware (PC computers)
  • $5000.00 Software Licenses
  • $15,000.00 Escrow for expenses related to development like buying Unity Assets etc.
  • $50,000.00 Physical Rewards creation and Shipping

Vale released a statement claiming:

“In the end we negotiated that $US150,000 would be transferred to the Yogscast with the understanding that they would use that money exclusively to create and ship all the physical rewards, AND they would help hire the main programmer that we still didn’t have on the project” Kotaku

Where did this $150,000 end up? We don’t know. The latest update from Yogscast reads:

“Hiya,
We’re not ready to make a detailed statement about what happened with Yogventures. Winterkewl’s statement omits much and I would disagree with a number of points, but there’s no value in going into detail. Our only goal right now is to ensure that we provide the best possible experience for the backers that we can. I can honestly say this has been our goal throughout.
To keep things simple, the facts are:

  • Winterkewl failed to meet their promises with Yogventures
  • The Yogscast are doing their best to rectify this situation – TUG is only the first step
  • Any monies the Yogscast have received in connection with this project has been spent on this project
  • I would just like to say that this project was started when The Yogscast was just me and Simon making videos out of our bedrooms. We met Kris and trusted his qualifications and assertions that we could trust him with our brand and even more importantly, our audience. Needless to say, I’m upset and embarrassed, but strongly believe the backers will end up getting far more value and a far better result than they originally anticipated when they backed this project.

Lewis” Reddit 

Did you back this project? Are you happy with how it’s being handled? This has become quite the mess. Stay tuned to eTeknix for updates.

Image courtesy of Kickstarter