Take-Two Lawsuit Drives To Dunk On NBA 2K Publisher Over Microtransaction Theft
Whether it's a skin in League of Legends, keys for Counter-Strike lockboxes, or some energy to continue playing Candy Crush, it's extremely likely that you've bought a microtransaction at least once. Imagine if you paid out for some in-game currency and the game operator shut down the title a couple of months or even weeks later? You'd expect a refund, right? Well, what if the operator told you "no dice?"
That's the frustration at the crux of a new class-action lawsuit brought in California federal court against publisher Take-Two Interactive, who is being accused very specifically of "theft" by the plaintiffs. The suit was filed by a minor listed as "J.A." in the court filings; he's being represented by his mother and attorneys from Erickson Kramer Osborne law firm in San Francisco.
The suit specifically mentions the NBA 2K series, but also includes "similar franchises published by 2K Games." The essence of the complaint is that Take-Two collects payments from players for virtual currency, but has no system in place to offer refunds or transfers in the case that this virtual currency can no longer be used, such as when the servers for a game go down. As one example, NBA 2K 21 was released in September 2020 and taken offline in December 2022, barely two years later.
Take-Two's business practices are "unfair, illegal, and greedy" according to the suit. The plaintiffs rightfully point out that other game franchises, including mega-hit Call of Duty, allow players to transfer virtual currency to a shared account that can then allow them to use it in a newer game. Some titles even allow players to carry forward cosmetics and other items from game to game, like Counter-Strike 2.
We're not lawyers here at HotHardware, but while we obviously deplore the practices of purloining purchased play money from paying players, we're not too sure about the "theft" terminology used in the case. Still, we hope the class action proceeds and is a big enough deal to make publishers think twice about this kind of blatantly anti-consumer action.
UPDATE: You can join the class-action suit by going to this site.