Nintendo fights in court to stop users being able to cancel pre-orders, report says

It wouldn't be the first time Nintendo was consumer-hostile.


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Like many other of the world's most successful and well-known game developers and publishers, Nintendo has had a fairly controversial history – either when it comes to the games it pushes out, or the ensuing interactions and reactions with gamers.

The Japanese giant proved to be a bad custodian of its own and the gaming history when it went hard against ROM community sites preserving that history, by threatening them with multi-million dollar lawsuits.

Then came the perpetual wars with YouTubers, with Nintendo often treating them as pirates.

No surprise then, that Nintendo is now engaged in another apparently tone-deaf misstep – this time, in Europe. PressFire Norway writes that the giant is attempting to stand its ground against pan-European consumer protection laws by defending its “no refund” policy.

According to the report, Germany's consumer rights regulator, VZBV, is alleging that the games publisher does not allow users to cancel pre-orders under any circumstances – and that would be in violation of the European Union (EU) legislation.

But the EU is fairly smaller than Europe itself. And this case, according to the report, centers around a non-EU member – Norway. However, the case has been brought before German courts because Nintendo Europe is headquartered there, and because the EU and Norway share relevant legal solutions.

Therefore, the outcome of the trial in Germany – expected by the end of the year or in early January – is likely to inform regulators in Norway.

The report is stating that Norway's consumer watchdog discovered that Nintendo won't let consumers cancel their orders – “even before the game is released, which is in violation of Norwegian and EU law.”

Nintendo's defense has been based in semantics: it hinges on “performance having begun” – something that the law requires for cancellations to be valid – as happening because the company's games can be “pre-loaded instantly after pre-ordering.”

Norway's Consumer Rights Council, however, disagrees. According to the regulator, performance will not have in fact begun before the game is fully playable – whether or not a gamer had pre-loaded it.

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Didi Rankovic

Didi Rankovich is an experienced online journalist, editor, and translator, with a career spanning over ten years writing for major a English-language website in Serbia, and previously working as translator for international organizations and peacekeepers in the Balkans. Rankovich is passionate about free and open source tech and is a head contributor for Reclaim The Net, focusing on lead stories. [email protected]
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