VentureBeat is reporting that more than 50 Star Wars Galaxies players plan on filing a class-action lawsuit against Sony Online Entertainment tomorrow in Washington D.C. Several players have emailed VentureBeat indicating that they will join the class-action lawsuit concerning SOE shutting down various petitions to keep the game alive. The company announced late last week that it would shut down the game at the end of this year.
The lawsuit alleges that Sony Online Entertainment has been locking petitions (in its forums) and banning players trying to spread the petitions. The company has said that promoting an online petition "causes disruption within the community" and does not provide gameplay-related feedback that its development team can use. One player said that SOE pegged him as a "ring leader" in the protests and threatened to permanently ban him from its games and file criminal charges against him for trying to cause "unlawful harm to the company." That last charge is a pretty bold one by anyone’s standards.
As the VentureBeat points out, SOE is within its rights to lock threads on its forums and to ban players for violating any terms related to its end-user license agreement (EULA).
It should also be noted that the petition being circulated probably irritates the hell out of SOE, who have no choice but to shut down SWG per its relationship with LucasArts. The petition in question asks SOE to change SWG to a free-to-play game monetized by the sale of virtual goods. The petition also asks SOE to consolidate players into fewer servers to save money, and allow character transfers to reduce operational costs.
We will follow this story as it develops.