Ban and ye shall receive!
“Hello, recently, your Steam account was erroneously banned from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. This was our mistake, and I apologize for any frustration or angst it may have caused you. We have reversed the ban, restoring your access to the game. In addition, we have given you a free copy of Left 4 Dead 2 to give as a gift on Steam, plus a free copy for yourself if you didn’t already own the game.”
You read that right. After Valve’s anti-cheat software made the egregious error of progressively banning 12,000 Modern Warfare 2 players from its Steam digital distribution platform over the past two weeks, the innocently accused weren’t just met with excuses. As tokens of gratitude for their patience and understanding following the public outpouring of confused players, Gabe Newell, Valve president, issued apologies bathed in digital awesome leaving many gamers wishing they had been banned.
He explained in his e-mail that, "the problem was that Steam would fail a signature check between the disk version of a DLL and a latent memory version." As a result, all banned players were given two free copies of Left 4 Dead 2.
Other companies take note:this is how you handle a mistake to maintain customer relations.
Not so Thriller
Following a formal complaint filed by the estate of Michael Jackson, PopCap Games has weeded the Dancing Zombie character from its iPod iteration of their insanely addicting Plants vs. Zombies.
Prior to the pop icon’s death, the zombie simply played a parody of an unmistakable musical legend and was a staple to an eccentric and hilarious cast of plants and zombies. The widely popular tower defense title was released on May 5, 2009, more than a month before the singer’s untimely death on June 25th. The likeliness posthumously lit a fire under the estate lawyers a year later, who realized that his thieving family members weren’t making money off of the harmless, red leather-clad homage, causing them to spring into action.
PopCap explained in their public statement that, "The Estate of Michael Jackson objected to our use of the 'dancing zombie' in Plants vs. Zombies based on its view that the zombie too closely resembled Michael Jackson. After receiving this objection, PopCap made a business decision to retire the original 'dancing zombie' and replace it with a different 'dancing zombie' character for future builds of PLANTS vs.ZOMBIES on all platforms. The phase-out and replacement process is underway."
PopCap’s problems don’t end there. iPhone 4 owners are currently reporting that the recently released update is causing the game to crash for any preexisting owner upgrading to the latest version. New purchasers to the title remain unaffected.
Lawyers and the Jackson family—tastelessly seeking out repercussions from video games since 2010. What's next? PopCap having to take "pop" out of their company title because "King of Pop" is trademarked?