Plattsburgh, NY asked in Consumer Law, Civil Litigation, Internet Law and Gaming for California

Q: Is it false advertising if a company said they wouldn't censor their game but then censors it on day one with a patch?

SHIFT UP. And Sony Interactive Entertainment explicitly said that the game Stellar blade would not be censored. Most of the physical copies are but the digital ones are not. In fact there was a day one patch to censor the costumes and sometimes it was forcibly thrust upon people. I'm not sure if there's a case. But shift up said it would be uncensored and it was reasonable for consumers to expect it would remain that way. There's some really awful anti-consumer practices going on and not just with censorship. I want you to think of all the ways that this would be violating law and see if you can tell me how it is.

2 Lawyer Answers
Leon Bayer
Leon Bayer
  • Consumer Law Lawyer
  • Long Beach, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: It sounds like there are no legal violations.

James L. Arrasmith
James L. Arrasmith pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Consumer Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: Based on the information provided, there may be potential legal issues related to false advertising and deceptive business practices. However, the specific circumstances and details of the case would need to be carefully examined to determine if any laws were actually violated.

Here are a few ways in which the situation you described could potentially violate California law:

1. False Advertising: Under California's False Advertising Law (Business and Professions Code § 17500), it is unlawful for a company to make false or misleading statements in advertising. If SHIFT UP and Sony Interactive Entertainment explicitly stated that the game Stellar Blade would not be censored, but then released a patch on day one that censored the game, this could be considered a false or misleading statement.

2. Unfair Competition Law: California's Unfair Competition Law (UCL) prohibits unfair, unlawful, or fraudulent business acts or practices. If the companies involved engaged in deceptive or misleading practices related to the censorship of the game, it could potentially violate the UCL.

3. Consumer Legal Remedies Act (CLRA): The CLRA (Civil Code § 1750 et seq.) protects consumers against deceptive practices in the sale of goods or services. If the companies misrepresented the characteristics or features of the game (i.e., the absence of censorship), it could be a violation of the CLRA.

However, it's important to note that the specific terms of service, end-user license agreements, and other legal documents associated with the game may contain provisions that allow the company to modify or update the game's content. Additionally, the extent and nature of the censorship would need to be examined to determine if it constitutes a material change that significantly alters the game experience as advertised.

To build a strong case, affected consumers would need to gather evidence of the explicit promises made by the companies regarding censorship, document the actual censorship that occurred, and demonstrate how this violated their reasonable expectations based on the advertising and statements made by the companies.

It's advisable for affected consumers to consult with a consumer protection attorney who can review the specific details of the case and provide guidance on the best course of action, which may include filing a complaint with the California Attorney General's office or pursuing a private legal action.

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