Sega To Settle Aliens Class Action Lawsuit for $1.25 Million
Sega has tentatively agreed to pay out a cool $1.25 million as part of a settlement in a class action lawsuit brought against it and Gearbox Software, according to a report from Polygon.
The suit centers around Aliens: Colonial Marines and its abysmal launch in February of 2013. The April 2013 suit alleged that both Sega and Gearbox produced demos of the game for trade shows that were not an accurate portrayal of what ended up as the final product, which would make the companies guilty of false advertisement. The demos were billed as "actual gameplay" by Gearbox Software head Randy Pitchford, but video comparisons show a distinct contrast in the visuals between the two demos.
"Each of the 'actual gameplay' demonstrations purported to show consumers exactly what they would be buying: a cutting edge video game with very specific features and qualities," according to the original claim. "Unfortunately for their fans, Defendants never told anyone — consumers, industry critics, reviewers, or reporters — that their 'actual gameplay' demonstration advertising campaign bore little resemblance to the retail product that would eventually be sold to a large community of unwitting purchasers."
According to court documents obtained by Polygon, this settlement is not an admission of guilt by Sega, but rather a solution to the rising costs of fighting the suit and unknown factors in the litigation process. Gearbox, meanwhile, is still trying to pull itself out of the entire proceeding through a motion filed in July.
This is quite the mess Sega and Gearbox have gotten into, but we don't like that Sega agreed to settle one bit. This opens up the floodgates for anyone who watches E3 coverage, thinks that the game they saw at E3 isn't the same as the game they're playing in front of them, and decides to sue the company who made the game.
We can see hundreds of pointless and silly lawsuits being filed on this precedent, and it's not something that we look forward to. We know that Colonial Marines is an extreme case, as the game turned out to be much less than what was shown as those shows, but that doesn't mean the companies involved should be sued. We sincerely hope that Sega, Gearbox, and the third party can figure this thing out so these kinds of lawsuits don't happen again.
We'll have more on this story as it develops.