Report: Star Wars Galaxies Players Plan Class-Action Lawsuit

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.

Source: VentureBeat

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  1. Dinger says:

    Which is why I enjoy this site.

    To the average user of a website or forum, they feel that the First Amendment applies to all aspects and would threaten a lawsuit over anything. What they dont realize is, that if a website wanted to ban anything, they can, as long as they are not government controlled, or receive any sort of government funding.

    I actually researched this when I was running a forum for a convention and people started threatening to sue when I enforced rules and issued bans because they felt their First Amendment rights were being stomped upon. What they didnt realize is that if I wanted to, i could have banned any word I wanted. If I had wanted to ban the words fluffy bunny, I could, and no court would rule against me.

  2. Grif says:

    Yup. Most GP’ers are pretty well-versed in the First Amendment, at the very least. A good chunk of us have a good grasp on the Constitution as a whole.


    "Power means nothing without honor and pride." My video game review site. 

    Atlanta Video Games Examiner for

  3. Dinger says:

    perhaps because that people commenting know that the First Amendment only applies to government control, and not to forums owned and operated by a private entity

  4. Thad says:

    Hm — the usual nonsensical "Locking threads violates the First Amendment!" barrage is strangely absent from this thread.

  5. MechaCrash says:

    Star Wars Galaxies was modeled after Ultima Online, not EverQuest. And the reason EQ was popular wasn’t because it was 3D, it’s because at the time, if you wanted an MMO, your choices were Ultima Online or EverQuest, and most people went with the one that didn’t let other players murder you and take all your stuff the second you set foot out of town.

    They also can’t release an offline patch or private servers for the same reason they’re shutting the game down: they don’t own the Star Wars IP, it belongs to LucasArts, and Sony didn’t renew their contract because the game was barely limping along after the "New Game Experience" drove away most of their players and they have to know that The Old Republic is going to completely crush them.

    As for the rest, here’s a video: But if you don’t want to watch it, the short version is that Sony has no idea what the hell they’re doing when it comes to selling video games. The PS1 and PS2 did well because Sony got lucky, and the curbstomping the PSP and PS3 got shows what happens when they face actual competition.

  6. Hevach says:

    Taking a look at the current state of their forums and what they’re NOT banning and deleting, I’m inclinded to agree here.

  7. Neeneko says:

     That is hard to say.

    I have seen company forums with some pretty heavy handed moderation, or at minimal moderators that are not kept to very professional standards…. esp when it is for a game with a deminishing userbase and thus not much corperate attention.  I could easily see some moderator or manager getting pisy about a user trying to start a petition within their own forum and bringing down the bannhammer in an immature way.

  8. Conejo says:

    I doubt bans are happening "just because they are protesting".

    I suspect it’s more the difference between "I disagree" and "YOU’RE ALL NAZI BABY RAPERS, OMGZORZ111!!!"

    Here are we — and yonder yawns the universe.

  9. Rodrigo Ybáñez García says:

    In a nutshell:

    I think it´s OK to protest and to petition about keep the game alive on servers, but a lawsuit is just silly.

    Also, Sony should not be banning people just because they are protesting.

    Where are my aspirins? I have headache.

  10. lordlundar says:


    This is no more that a bunch of crybabies who think that because they paid for the privelage to access the game, that they in some fashion own it and get to dictate what goes on. Nothing to see here, move along.

  11. Neo_DrKefka says:

    Star Wars Galaxies could of been amazing problem is they modeled it after Everquest most people don’t understand the only reason why Everquest was popular was because it was the first 3D MMO instead of being completely 2D you could play it completely in the 3rd person.

    The game was a grind fest but Galaxies had an amazing system and the city creation tool was just awesome. This is one of those games they should just release an offline patch or maybe a patch to where you can play this almost ancient MMO over a private server.

    Sony again fails in the press though with threats….okay the PS1 was a sucess as was the PS2 but beyond the PS2 Sony has failed in every way in the public relations department. I bought a PS3 when they finally lowered the price and it looks like they were learning from the error of their ways and then they blocked access to linex which was also a selling point to me and then they started having people arrested

  12. Daelda says:

    Wouldn’t these players have to sue Lucas Arts instead? Or at least, in addition? The license was due to expire in 2012, so the *most* that the players could have expected is for SWG to continue through 2012. Beyond that, Sony has no control over Lucas Arts (the owner of the IP). Once Lucas Arts makes a decision on how its IP is used, it is final. No one can force Lucas Arts to allow their IP to be used in a manner it does not wish to be used, since George Lucas is the sole holder of the IP rights.

    It is quite possible that Lucas Arts told Sony that either: (1) We are not renewing your rights to our IP. or (2) You have the option to renew the rights to our IP, but at a cost so huge as to make Sony’s investors balk.

    Either way, Sony had little to no control over the closing of SWG. Lucas Arts is the one main one responsible. Any lawsuit needs to be directed at, or include, them (in my opinion – I am NOT a lawyer).

  13. greevar says:

    Well, that was a far more reasonable comment than the one above. Consider me persuaded.


    "Paste superficially profound, but utterly meaningless quotation here."

  14. lordlundar says:

    They’ve shelled out a lot of money playing this game and just because Sony doesn’t want to keep it going, doesn’t mean they can just pull the rug from under their customers.

    Three problems with that statement alone:

    1. SOE has a contractual obligation with LucasArts to shut down the game which superceeds any crying from the gamer base (which has been abysmally low since NGE went live) so even if SOE wanted to keep it going, they legally cannot.

    2. Until the servers are shut down for good, SOE owns the rights to the game, after that the rights transfer to LucasArts. At no point does the user base own ANYTHING pertaining to the game. All they paid for was the privelage to access the accounts they were allowed to create on the servers. So yes, SOE has every right to "pull the rug" if they so choose.

    3. There’s 6 month’s notice given to the players, so "pulling the rug" is horribly inacurate. It’s not like the servers just vanished overnight.

  15. Hevach says:

    Pretty smarmy for finally closing a barely to unprofitable game that’s languished among the MMO undead for years, with extremely generous estimates putting it at 20,000 players, and the more consevative "5x peak hour population" estimate leaving them around 7500?

    Many players have been hanging on for years awaiting what they called an inevitable pre-NGE server or even a reversal of the NGE entirely, or the promised and never delivered "rest" of the NGE including diversification of weapons to supplement the shooter gameplay. If they didn’t see the writing on the wall years ago, it’s frankl their own fault. At least they got what they paid for.

    They’re probably not kids, SWG hasn’t seen major new subscriber activity in a long time, and it had a reasonably adult crowd to begin with, but they’re acting pretty childish. This lawsuit will come to nought and I won’t be surprised if it ends up like the attempted Farscape lawsuit, where the three or four people who didn’t wise up and jump ship ended up paying for the whole mess for wasting everyone’s time.

  16. Neeneko says:

     Ok, the link to the original story appears to be broken.

    Now, has anyone actually seen the lawsuit?  On the surface it sounds so bizzar as to be unbelievable, thus I question the reporting/summary of it till someone can actually produce the actual document.

  17. nighstalker160 says:

    Oh for crying out loud. What exactly are planning to sue them for? Sony, as a private company, is not bound by the First Amendment. They don’t have to let you say anything on their forums.


  18. Grif says:

    Read as: Over 50 Star Wars Nerds who are pissed that Star Wars: The Old Republic isn’t out yet.


    "Power means nothing without honor and pride." My video game review site.

    Atlanta Video Games Examiner for

  19. greevar says:

    It’s more like they don’t care. And kids? Seriously? They make a fuss about a game and you automatically assume they’re kids? That appears to resemble an attempt to discredit the vocal minority by applying derogatory labels to them in order to deflate their argument. Not everyone that acts contrary to your expectations are kids, stupid, or immature. Deal in facts instead of assumptions and suppositions.

    I think they have a legitimate grievance here. They’ve shelled out a lot of money playing this game and just because Sony doesn’t want to keep it going, doesn’t mean they can just pull the rug from under their customers. They could fix it so people can run their own dedicated server and place the game privately. They paid for the game after all, the subscription was for the server. They are effectively making the game unplayable just so it doesn’t compete with the new title. Screwing the customers out of something they’ve invested many hours and many dollars into is not a good way to earn their respect a loyalty. Sony and Lucas are pretty smarmy for pulling this IMO.


    "Paste superficially profound, but utterly meaningless quotation here."

  20. Positive_Gamer says:

    "who have no choice but to shut down SWG per its relationship with LucasArts"

    Yeah, most of these kids probably don’t even realize that.

  21. greevar says:

    And the solution presents itself…heh heh heh


    "Paste superficially profound, but utterly meaningless quotation here."

  22. Shahab says:

    "… and file criminal charges against him for trying to cause "unlawful harm to the company."


    Wow, SOE is an eviiiiiiil company. This is why I could never support them with my money. My last Sony product was a PS2 and god willing it will be my last. How hard would it have been to let people sign their petitions and just ignore it? Instead they have to turn a bad situation into a worse situation by trying to bully and intimidate their OWN CUSTOMERS! That is the part that really gets me, they are going to war with their own customers.

    With mobile games becoming more popular and a lot indie titles doing really well serving markets the big guys are content to ignore companies like SOE need to watch out. They could find themselves irrelevant in the gaming market a lot quicker then they might imagine.

  23. Grif says:

    I do my best. No nerd shall go uncalled as long as I draw breath! *Salutes*


    "Power means nothing without honor and pride." My video game review site.

    Atlanta Video Games Examiner for

  24. RonnyNunez says:

    What? That statment is illogical. They are closing the game at the end of the year which is right as they plan to open up the new mmo. Why… would they petition to keep a game alive because they have to wait for the other mmo which will start around the same time they end this one? I just don’t get it jim. Good job calling them nerds by the way.

  25. katiekat says:

    shhhh grif your just jellis becuse you’ve never sean a starwars movie


    am dyslexic and have a learning disablement from when i died as a baby and sustained brain damage do to lack of oxygen pleas pardon my bad spelling and grammar

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