The lights are on
One piece of the Alien: Colonial Marines class action suit could be drawing to a close soon, as publisher Sega has preliminarily agreed to a settlement with plaintiffs. If accepted by the court, class participants would be due an equal distribution of a $1.25 million settlement.The parties came to an agreement that would have also included Gearbox Software, which recently filed motions to contest class certification for the suit. Gearbox has declined to participate in the settlement.The suit emerged following the 2013 release of Alien: Colonial Marines, which many consumers felt did not align with higher quality, pre-release content shown at trade shows and consumer conventions. Recently, one of the plaintiffs was forced to drop out of the case due to incarceration in Pennsylvania. Gearbox's statement on the suit alleges that those that might be grouped into the case would be varied in their reasons and level of dissatisfaction. Others that would be included might not be dissatisfied at all.If approved by the court, Sega's $1.25 million settlement fund would cover a pro rated amount for each participating customer up to the amount paid for the title. This would not include the $40 overage paid for the collector's edition, capping the payout at $59.99 (but likely amounting to significantly less per each member).The plaintiff in the case will be entitled to an award of $2,500. Attorney fees would also come from the settlement fund, maxing out at $312,500. The fund administration agency would be due a fee of not more than $200,000. Assuming both legal fees and management expenses are maximized, this would put the maximum pool for other class members at $735,000. The class size is projected to be 135,000 claimaints, yielding a likely payout of just over $5.[Source: US District Court, Northern District of California via Polygon]
Our TakeSega is likely looking to put this to bed before Alien: Isolation's final marketing push spins up before the October 7 release. I'm a bit surprised that the publisher is settling (and not at all surprised that Gearbox is not). The big questions here are about the precedent this sets for marketing and promotional standards and vertical slices of games shown to press and consumers. We'll be monitoring how this develops, as it could have an impact that exceeds the $1.25 million settlement amount.
Email the author Mike Futter, or follow on Google+, Twitter, and Game Informer.