Activision Confirms it Could Kill PS3 Black Ops Servers, But Says it Won't

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Activision Confirms it Could Kill PS3 Black Ops Servers, But Says it Won't

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Activision claims that an angry customer "misinterpreted" a conversation he had with a customer service representative as a threat.

The discussion over the connection issues that Call of Duty: Black Ops is having on the PS3 has gotten a lot more heated, after a customer service representative told a customer that Activision had the right to shut down the PSN servers. Some have taken this comment as a threat, but Activision's Dan Amrich has been quick to say that it was nothing more than a simple statement of fact, and certainly isn't an indication of the publisher's future plans.

Activision's senior support representative, Dov Carson, told Canadian blogger Jason Koblovsky that shutting down the servers might be a viable solution to the connection problems. Carson made this comment in response to Kablovsky's suggestion that the problems with Black Ops could represent a violation of Canadian law, at the end of a protracted discussion with Activision, in which Koblovsky was less than shy about voicing his frustration, as well as drawing attention to the fact others were experiencing similar - or worse - problems.

Koblovsky made his original complaint on December 20th. He wanted to know when the connectivity issues on the PS3 would be fixed, and what kind of testing had gone on at Treyarch with regard to Black Ops PS3 multiplayer. He said that he could provide ample proof that it was a widespread issue, and that in some cases the problems had even caused hardware failures. He also threatened to contact local consumer groups, as well as the Canadian government if he didn't get an answer by December 24th. Koblovsky decided not to wait on that final point, however, and contacted the Canadian Minister of Industry about the problem. He explained the situation, and asked that his office get in touch with Activision with a view to informing customers about the issues, or possibly even calling for a recall.

After a break in communication that lasted around three weeks, Carson came back to Koblovsky. He disputed Koblovsky's suggestion that the problem was widespread, and offered some technical advice that could potentially alleviate Koblovsky's problems. Koblovsky responded, linking to a multitude of posts from the Call of Duty forums from people who were having problems and suggesting that Activision may have broken Canadian trade and advertising laws.

The comment that got Koblovsky so worked up was:

Well I have nothing else to offer and I too follow forums and have many friends who play and enjoy the game for all of its features. As an avid gamer, I would also disagree with any legalities involving a single aspect of a game as online experience may change at any time. The publishers have the right to shut down the servers for their game at any time as well which based on the number of reported posts from users may be a viable solution over the free PSN.

Koblovsky took this to mean that PS3 Black Ops players should keep their mouths shut, or risk having the multiplayer taken away completely, but Activision's Dan Amrich said that this wan't the case. In a conversation on Twitter, Amrich said that he was sorry if Koblovsky felt like he was being threatened, but that there wasn't any malice in the statement, nor was it an indication of something that Activision had planned. Amrich also assuaged the fears of others, saying that a private conversation had been misinterpreted, and then made public.

For what it's worth, I don't think that Carson's statement was intended to be threatening; I think it was a rebuttal to the idea that Activision was breaking the law. Still, it seems like an odd thing to have said, and it's not hard to imagine why someone might have taken it badly.

Source: via Game Politics

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Someone in customer service has a bad day. That's what I think, at least.

binvjoh:
Someone in customer service has a bad day. That's what I think, at least.

Tseric was my favourite customer service rep who had a bad day :P

The Activision guy doesn't sound like a threat to me, but I can understand how in a heated conversation it could be interpreted as such. He should have perhaps chosen his words more carefully, but that's about it.

So instead of actually telling the customer that "Yeah we are(n't) working on a fix for the problem" he basically pulls the finger at him and says "We really don't care, we can take it whenever we want, so take it or leave it"

I'm sorry but I think its irresponsible Customer Service

That reads like a prepared statement (who just says "online experience may change at any time") in response to an idiotic comment.

I mean had anyone even heard of this guy before this? Cause they sure have now, what an amazing thing for someone who is surely receiving more traffic for "ZOMG ACTIVISION THREATENS TO SHUT DOWN SERVERS!" than anything else he's posted.

This is like saying the city is outright threatening to shut down bus service because they said "if it's snowing buses may not be able to run, so the city has the right to cancel routes accordingly."

What does the "free PSN" have anything to do with it? Does XBLA give them money to run servers on their service? o.O

I think it was a rebuttal to the idea that Activision was breaking the law.

does make more sense to think of it that way, I can't imagine Activision would be that stupid to take down servers to their current cash cow. its just fiscally irresponsible.

On that note, "The publishers have the right to shut down the servers for their game at any time as well which based on the number of reported posts from users may be a viable solution over the free PSN." in the context of that sentence is a threat. o.O

I just wish they would fix the game. My bro owns it on PS3 and I own it on PC and we both have such bad lag issues. I have a good gaming PC, I even upgraded to a 460GTX and the game lags still lags like a bitch!

I can understand why someone is getting fed up and making a big deal out of an obsolete comment, maybe it will draw attention to the problems that need to be fixed.

I think Black Ops would be such a fantastic game if they just fixed the problem, I have even seen people go back to MW2 because of the lag issues on PC.

Logan Westbrook:
For what it's worth, I don't think that Carson's statement was intended to be threatening; I think it was a rebuttal to the idea that Activision was breaking the law. Still, it seems like an odd thing to have said, and it's not hard to imagine why someone might have taken it badly.

What makes you think it's an odd thing to say, Logan? In my opinion, it's a perfectly normal and reasonable thing to say. The point at the heart of this is that the option to shut down the servers exists, and Carson simply stated that as one of the potential options to fixing the problem. To me, that doesn't sound odd, because it sounds like a perfectly viable solution, as Carson said, to stopping the problems when said problems are occuring at such a massive rate over such a wide range of users. Not to mention that it's certainly a more feasible option over PSN, which is free, than over, say, Xbox Live, where you have to pay for the privilige of going online and thus would feel much more hard done by if the online services for a game were suddenly dropped. In such a case, I'd feel inclined personally to agree with Koblovsky rather than Activision.

That being said, to me it just seems that the guy was a little too harsh in how he assumed Activision were threatening its customers. Fine, he may be upset and angry, but even so, surely he can't think a company like Activision would screw its customers over like that and think they could get away with it?
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Oh, wait...

I kinda wish they would shut it down. Can you imagine the gigantic lashing Activision would take? It would make my day lol

Zenode:
So instead of actually telling the customer that "Yeah we are(n't) working on a fix for the problem" he basically pulls the finger at him and says "We really don't care, we can take it whenever we want, so take it or leave it"

I'm sorry but I think its irresponsible Customer Service

Except it's not. There's obviously no real proof there is a problem. This guy sounds like he was just wanting to stir up trouble. Even if the CSR had meant it as a threat, it was worded well enough it can be taken any number of ways.

Activision in general treats the PS3 badly every year with Call of Duty. Subpar visuals, horrible online issues and generally a less polished product than what the 360 gets. But here I don't think they meant to be threatening, any company can shut down servers at any time for their game, its in the long paragraphs of words no one ever reads before the game starts.

Eri:

Zenode:
So instead of actually telling the customer that "Yeah we are(n't) working on a fix for the problem" he basically pulls the finger at him and says "We really don't care, we can take it whenever we want, so take it or leave it"

I'm sorry but I think its irresponsible Customer Service

Except it's not. There's obviously no real proof there is a problem. This guy sounds like he was just wanting to stir up trouble. Even if the CSR had meant it as a threat, it was worded well enough it can be taken any number of ways.

No real problem? whatttt? Have you ever played Blops on the PS3? It takes forever to find games, parties randomly get disbanded and sometimes the game just freezes on the countdown screen. Trust me, there is a problem and as for proof, just ask any of the million people online at any given moment on the PS3

If they shut down the servers, they wouldn't be able to sell their map packs to PS3 owners, which would close down a large revenue source.

They're not going to shut them down, more likely is that they'll just not do anything.

WanderFreak:

This is like saying the city is outright threatening to shut down bus service because they said "if it's snowing buses may not be able to run, so the city has the right to cancel routes accordingly."

That analogy beautifully sums up how retarded that situation was.

I'm pretty sure any company can shut down their severs whenever they want, doesn't mean it would be a good or even sane idea, never mind the legality, it would kill any future sales of (almost) exclusively multi player games like Call of Duty, no-one is going to drop $100 on something that might last a week before being rendered worthless.

These angry bloggers and pants wetting fans need to step back and think "would this cost the company a lot of money if they did so?" if the answer is a resounding "YES!" you don't need to worry about it.

Sinclose:

WanderFreak:

This is like saying the city is outright threatening to shut down bus service because they said "if it's snowing buses may not be able to run, so the city has the right to cancel routes accordingly."

That analogy beautifully sums up how retarded that situation was.

This. It's clear that it was made in reference to the 'Activision is breaking the law' bit. The user was saying that Activision was breaking the law by offering a multiplayer service that users are having trouble connecting too (thus the service is not as advertised). The CS rep is simply stating that that cannot be true as Activision has the right to shut it's servers down and no servers at all is less multiplayer than connection problems, but it's still legal. It is actually a very good rebuttal to what WAS a threat from the user (i'll report you to the government). He certainly wasn't suggesting Activision WOULD do it, he was just saying that they COULD as a means of proving the legality threat useless.

DTWolfwood:
What does the "free PSN" have anything to do with it? Does XBLA give them money to run servers on their service? o.O

I believe it has everything to do with it. The fact that PSN is free means that Activision has more rights to do what they want with their service, because users don't require compensation. As XBL is a pay service, I imagine there are more terms and conditions for service providers and therefore more hoops they must jump through to remove a service because a paying user has more rights.

I'm pretty sure that the servers are going to be safe for a couple of years, if not longer.

I'd also like to point out that this year is the last year for the EA sports 2010 series servers to be up.

Yeah I hope they would shut it down, just to see how many COD fanboys rage.

Zenode:
So instead of actually telling the customer that "Yeah we are(n't) working on a fix for the problem" he basically pulls the finger at him and says "We really don't care, we can take it whenever we want, so take it or leave it"

I'm sorry but I think its irresponsible Customer Service

More like one loudmouthed angry asshole got himself all worked up and is going out of his way to be an uncooperative pain in the ass. As somebody who was once picked up by the throat working customer service I can tell you, the customer is usually wrong, and some of them, like this guy are out right retards. I mean let's have a look at this:

He also threatened to contact local consumer groups, as well as the Canadian government if he didn't get an answer by December 24th. Koblovsky decided not to wait on that final point, however, and contacted the Canadian Minister of Industry about the problem.

The guy is so angry he gives them a MANDATE. Then he doesn't even follow through with his end of the deal. He just wants to see someone validate him NOW.

and offered some technical advice that could potentially alleviate Koblovsky's problems. Koblovsky responded, linking to a multitude of posts from the Call of Duty forums from people who were having problems and suggesting that Activision may have broken Canadian trade and advertising laws.

No thankyou, he doesn't even try it out he just starts talking out of his ass about them breaking the law. So when they respond by telling him:

I would also disagree with any legalities involving a single aspect of a game as online experience may change at any time. The publishers have the right to shut down the servers for their game at any time as well

That legally they can do whatever they want to the servers, this pinhead, worked up as he is TAKES it as a threat. I mean have you ever worked in customer service? they had to get

Activision's senior support representative, Dov Carso

to handle the guy. They had to get the guy above all the associates and managers. Do you think this sounds like a reasonable gamer done wrong? They don't get the top top guy in the company to handle any old caller. Clearly this guy was frothing at the mouth and unwilling to work with anyone because they couldn't provide him with instant gratification. And you honestly think the company is the unreasonable one here? He's making threats, he's trying to sick the government on them, (and wasting their time it turns out) he publishes a private conversation ect ect. Some anonymous retard freaks out and automatically you flock to take HIS side. Good grief.

Xennon:

DTWolfwood:
What does the "free PSN" have anything to do with it? Does XBLA give them money to run servers on their service? o.O

I believe it has everything to do with it. The fact that PSN is free means that Activision has more rights to do what they want with their service, because users don't require compensation. As XBL is a pay service, I imagine there are more terms and conditions for service providers and therefore more hoops they must jump through to remove a service because a paying user has more rights.

makes sense, then what the rep said is DEFINITELY a threat even if he didn't mean it to be.

DTWolfwood:

Xennon:

DTWolfwood:
What does the "free PSN" have anything to do with it? Does XBLA give them money to run servers on their service? o.O

I believe it has everything to do with it. The fact that PSN is free means that Activision has more rights to do what they want with their service, because users don't require compensation. As XBL is a pay service, I imagine there are more terms and conditions for service providers and therefore more hoops they must jump through to remove a service because a paying user has more rights.

makes sense, then what the rep said is DEFINITELY a threat even if he didn't mean it to be.

It's in no way a threat. It was a statement of fact used to rebute one of the users arguments and threats. The CSR was simply stating that if the servers can be shut down at any time, then it's not possible for poor connection to be illegal.

Look up definitions of 'Threat' http://www.google.co.uk/search?sclient=psy&hl=en&safe=off&q=define%3A+threat&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=&pbx=1

None of those fit what the CSR said as there was no menace or intent. He simply made a statement of fact.

ELxSQUISHY:
I kinda wish they would shut it down. Can you imagine the gigantic lashing Activision would take? It would make my day lol

Same here. And end this CoD mania for good. So I can point to all these 'skill less' players and laugh into their faces, for supporting a Publisher that blows.

Trivun:

Logan Westbrook:
For what it's worth, I don't think that Carson's statement was intended to be threatening; I think it was a rebuttal to the idea that Activision was breaking the law. Still, it seems like an odd thing to have said, and it's not hard to imagine why someone might have taken it badly.

What makes you think it's an odd thing to say, Logan? In my opinion, it's a perfectly normal and reasonable thing to say. The point at the heart of this is that the option to shut down the servers exists, and Carson simply stated that as one of the potential options to fixing the problem.

That's not what he meant at all. He meant "we're not breaking any laws, the servers are entirely out of the government's hands." I normally hate those big bad corporations too. They do wrong the little guy all the time. This is not one of those times.

Like this guy says:

Xennon:

DTWolfwood:

Xennon:

I believe it has everything to do with it. The fact that PSN is free means that Activision has more rights to do what they want with their service, because users don't require compensation. As XBL is a pay service, I imagine there are more terms and conditions for service providers and therefore more hoops they must jump through to remove a service because a paying user has more rights.

makes sense, then what the rep said is DEFINITELY a threat even if he didn't mean it to be.

It's in no way a threat. It was a statement of fact used to rebute one of the users arguments and threats. The CSR was simply stating that if the servers can be shut down at any time, then it's not possible for poor connection to be illegal.

Look up definitions of 'Threat' http://www.google.co.uk/search?sclient=psy&hl=en&safe=off&q=define%3A+threat&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=&pbx=1

None of those fit what the CSR said as there was no menace or intent. He simply made a statement of fact.

Xennon:

Sinclose:

WanderFreak:

This is like saying the city is outright threatening to shut down bus service because they said "if it's snowing buses may not be able to run, so the city has the right to cancel routes accordingly."

That analogy beautifully sums up how retarded that situation was.

This. It's clear that it was made in reference to the 'Activision is breaking the law' bit. The user was saying that Activision was breaking the law by offering a multiplayer service that users are having trouble connecting too (thus the service is not as advertised). The CS rep is simply stating that that cannot be true as Activision has the right to shut it's servers down and no servers at all is less multiplayer than connection problems, but it's still legal. It is actually a very good rebuttal to what WAS a threat from the user (i'll report you to the government). He certainly wasn't suggesting Activision WOULD do it, he was just saying that they COULD as a means of proving the legality threat useless.

DTWolfwood:
What does the "free PSN" have anything to do with it? Does XBLA give them money to run servers on their service? o.O

I believe it has everything to do with it. The fact that PSN is free means that Activision has more rights to do what they want with their service, because users don't require compensation. As XBL is a pay service, I imagine there are more terms and conditions for service providers and therefore more hoops they must jump through to remove a service because a paying user has more rights.

Oh, and because I never touched on the 'And this may be a viable solution' part (because I know others will :-) ). That still isn't a threat, it is again just stating that if the whole thing really is broken, that someone higher up may take that decision to help solve the problem. He never states it would be permenantly taking the servers down, or if it would just be taking down the troublesome servers, allowing users to connect to non troublesome ones. He simply said that the situation was in the realms of possiblity if the problem was really as widespread and as dire as it sounded (I.E causing hardware failures for people. If Activisions servers were breaking peoples hardware, you're damn right they would take the servers down in an instant until they had the issue sorted :-) Not quite sure HOW a server would cause hardware failure, but thats another matter entirely )

I also don't know if PSN has a Paying section and a Free section, but if it does and the load on the servers caused by the Free section was impacting the connectivity for the Pay customers, again, Activision would prioritise the Pay customers by removing servers and thus load from Free customers.

THIS JUST IN: Trees are made of wood.
OF COURSE they can kill the servers! They control the game! They could make it so everyone who has it can't play it just cause they feel like it!

He was offered a sealed version of the game to return to the store, a new Activision game of equal or lesser value and something else let me check kotaku. Or give him an xbox 360 or PC version of the game. They essentially gave him a full refund except for cash because they arn't allowed. They explained everything they could do, they gave him everything they could and people blame the company. Blind as bats in here, you may hate the company, or how the game was handled but in this particular case Activision is in the right.

Whilst this is merely indicitive that someone somewhere had a bad day in the customer service departement I can imagine Kotick in his office with a line of little red buttons and one big button with the words "Destroy all Fun" Written on it that shuts down all the Activision servers and replaces every single action taken in singleplayer with a micro-tansaction.

"Reward profit and nothing else." to quote the man.

Xennon:

DTWolfwood:

Xennon:

I believe it has everything to do with it. The fact that PSN is free means that Activision has more rights to do what they want with their service, because users don't require compensation. As XBL is a pay service, I imagine there are more terms and conditions for service providers and therefore more hoops they must jump through to remove a service because a paying user has more rights.

makes sense, then what the rep said is DEFINITELY a threat even if he didn't mean it to be.

It's in no way a threat. It was a statement of fact used to rebute one of the users arguments and threats. The CSR was simply stating that if the servers can be shut down at any time, then it's not possible for poor connection to be illegal.

Look up definitions of 'Threat' http://www.google.co.uk/search?sclient=psy&hl=en&safe=off&q=define%3A+threat&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=&pbx=1

None of those fit what the CSR said as there was no menace or intent. He simply made a statement of fact.

"The publishers have the right to shut down the servers for their game at any time as well which based on the number of reported posts from users may be a viable solution over the free PSN."

That's stating a fact. Everything else implies possible intent.

-sighs- I'm going to have to deal with assholes like these soon enough.

Customer service guy is right. Their servers, ps3 users ain't paying for them, they don't have to host them. Simple fact of life.

DTWolfwood:
"The publishers have the right to shut down the servers for their game at any time as well which based on the number of reported posts from users may be a viable solution over the free PSN."

That's stating a fact. Everything else implies possible intent.

I'm going to shut down the servers. I can shut down the servers. I can shut down the servers, based on evidence and reports it may be a viable solution. Only 1 is a threat.

Rationalization:

DTWolfwood:
"The publishers have the right to shut down the servers for their game at any time as well which based on the number of reported posts from users may be a viable solution over the free PSN."

That's stating a fact. Everything else implies possible intent.

I'm going to shut down the servers. I can shut down the servers. I can shut down the servers, based on evidence and reports it may be a viable solution. Only 1 is a threat.

your english is superior i admit defeat :P

i can certainly see why mr. Koblovsky thought what he thought.

DTWolfwood:

Xennon:

DTWolfwood:
makes sense, then what the rep said is DEFINITELY a threat even if he didn't mean it to be.

It's in no way a threat. It was a statement of fact used to rebute one of the users arguments and threats. The CSR was simply stating that if the servers can be shut down at any time, then it's not possible for poor connection to be illegal.

Look up definitions of 'Threat' http://www.google.co.uk/search?sclient=psy&hl=en&safe=off&q=define%3A+threat&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=&pbx=1

None of those fit what the CSR said as there was no menace or intent. He simply made a statement of fact.

"The publishers have the right to shut down the servers for their game at any time as well which based on the number of reported posts from users may be a viable solution over the free PSN."

That's stating a fact. Everything else implies possible intent.

He said it is a viable solution. Just like doing a mass recall is a viable solution. He can't say they won't shut it down just like he can't say they will. He said there is a possibility they will. Just like there is a possibility Acti could be shutting everything down and locking their doors as I type this. Sure it is highly improbable but definitely not impossible.

My gawd gamers are a sensitive lot.

read post immediately above your post. :P

DTWolfwood:
read post immediately above your post. :P

Do you mean the post that was made while I was typing mine? The one that wasn't there when I started? Or are you not aware that while making a post you can't see the other posts that are happening in real time?

squid5580:

DTWolfwood:
read post immediately above your post. :P

Do you mean the post that was made while I was typing mine? The one that wasn't there when I started? Or are you not aware that while making a post you can't see the other posts that are happening in real time?

I meant that literally as "read the post immediately above your post." as its an adequate response, there is no malice or intent in my factual statement ;)

lol love it when it goes full circle.

dogstile:
-sighs- I'm going to have to deal with assholes like these soon enough.

Customer service guy is right. Their servers, ps3 users ain't paying for them, they don't have to host them. Simple fact of life.

It's also true that the people who bought the game did so with the understanding that it would have multiplayer servers. If they did shut them down. I think there might be a case to be made for fraudulent misrepresentation.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not taking what the rep said as a threat. They're probably just making the most of a shit situation. But I don't think Activision could actually get away with simply shutting down servers. The backlash would be far too great and probably cost them more in legal representation that it would to simply fix the things.

Because they are quite bad. As much as I like the game. It's matchmaking, host migrating and friend invite system is so broken Rain man couldn't put all the pieces back together.

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