Judge Allows Killzone: Shadow Fall Resolution Lawsuit To Proceed
A lawsuit seeking remedy for Sony’s alleged misrepresentations related to Killzone: Shadow Fall has been allowed to proceed. Sony was defeated on a motion to dismiss on all but one claim, with plaintiff Douglas Ladore given permission to amend his filing.
Ladore is pursuing a class action suit against Sony for a discrepancy between claims made about Killzone: Shadow Fall’s multiplayer resolution. In the run-up to the game’s release in November 2013, Sony claimed that the title ran at a native resolution of 1080p.
It was later discovered that was not the case for the multiplayer portion, which runs at 960x1080 instead of 1920x1080. Through a process called “interpolation,” the game outputs at 1080p, but is not considered to do so “natively.”
Ladore, citing pre-release statements that were not expressly debunked by the back of the box (which simply claimed 1080p output), successfully argued misrepresentation. This doesn’t mean he will ultimately win the case or that the class will be awarded anything. Rather, this simply means it can proceed to trial.
Sony also tried arguing that games are not goods. The court upholds that games sold on disc are not simply delivery mechanisms for licenses. The same can not be asserted for games sold via digital channels, which creates a line between these methods of purchase.
The court did grant Sony’s dismissal of the claim of negligent misrepresentation. In order for this to be considered as such, Ladore would need to show harm above and beyond the contract (or representations of the qualities of the game) to have been breached.
In his amendment, he’ll need to evidence non-economic harm. In other words, it isn’t enough to be at a loss for the money spent on the game.
As an example, non-economic harm is often considered in injury cases. Damages awarded against these claims is often meant to ease pain and suffering beyond the actual costs of medical care.
You can read the entire court order here. We’ve reached out to Sony for comment and will update should we receive a response.
Update: Sony has responded, indicating that it does not comment on pending litigation.
Just because Ladore passed the dismissal phase shouldn’t be taken as a guarantee that this case is won. The most important thing I read in the filing was the distinction of games on disc as goods. The nature of gaming is in flux as more games become services. For now at least, should you purchase on disc, you are entitled to protections that might not apply to digital purchases.
Ladore should be able to convince the court that there was misrepresentation at play. Evidencing harm though, will be much trickier. If Sony does lose, it will be the second instance of misrepresentation in a short period (the first being the matter of the PlayStation Vita).